Friday, December 16, 2011

Philisophical Thought

There was a time when I probably enjoyed debating deep philosophical questions. But that time has passed. I'm much more shallow now.
Deep questions make my head hurt, like graphing calculators do.
So you can imagine how concerned I am that Spencer and his friends have embraced the writings of Albert Camus and existentialism. It seems incongruous to me that guys who love to mix it up on the basketball floor and compare the size of their biceps spend hours sitting in a friend's garage discussing existentialism.
I think I can blame the existentialist movement throughout our small town garages on the Senior English teacher who assigned "The Stranger" by Camus. Spencer declared it a good book.
So I racked my brain to remember some of the ideas of existentialism, which was espoused in Europe in the 40s and 50s by people like Jean Paul Sartre. The current existentialist ideas, I think, relate to today's hipsters. Spencer would probably argue this point, but it would make my head hurt and I wouldn't contine after a few minutes.
Spencer described existentialism as the realization that life is absurd. "The themes popularly associated with existentialism—dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment, nothingness, and so on" according to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
I fear that part of embracing this philosophy comes from the fact that one of the boy's older brother's commited suicide this fall. The boys are probably trying to find some answers and excuses for why this happened.
Online, I find a debate about whether hipsters are existentialists, but from my point of view, hipsters are people who are determined to declare everything in life boring and out-of-date.

Spencer is no stranger to philosophy. It was one of the subjects he chose to study when we were homeschooling. And, although he doesn't see it as a good college major, he wouldn't mind minoring in philosophy.
I can picture a day when my son is speaking in terms I don't understand at all. This might be worse than basketball jargon as he talks about picks and triple/doubles.
And I'll probably break down and get him a book by Sartre for Christmas. I just hope he doesn't want to discuss it with me.


Denise said...

You have a very intellectual son there, a deep thinker. When ever I start thinking too deeply about things, I reach for the Excedrin! Thanks for visiting my blog, it's been very nice visiting yours.

Linda said...

I saw the tomb of Camus in Provence near the village of Lourmarin. I had never heard of him. There was something mysterious about his death too-he had predicted it in someway. Maybe you son would know about that. Photos on my blog somewhere of the tomb if you do a search if he's interested in seeing it.

Sheila said...

What a smart boy, him and Matt C. would probably enjoy talking about such things. Matt's still leaning towards philosophy...

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