|How Philosophy Can Change Your Life
||[May. 16th, 2003|12:52 pm]
Last night I attended the book launch for THE BIG QUESTIONS: How Philosophy Can Change Your Life (Bloomsbury; June 2003; $24.95; 400 pages) by Lou Marinoff, bestselling author of Plato, Not Prozac! I won't say very much about the book, as I didn't get a chance to read much of it yet, but I will say Lou does great standup using an (unopened) box of fridge magnet finger puppets of the great philosophers as a prop. (Don't ask. You have to be there.)|
As some of you know, I consider myself part of the general movement toward pragmatic philosophy and philosophical practice, going back to my youthful enthusiasm for Kierkegaard, Berdyav, and Marcel, my dissertation on Charles Sanders Peirce, and my postdoctoral training with Ira Progoff (Intensive Journal) and Mathew Lipman (Philosophy for Children). I mention this to establish that, even though I am not certified to receive third party payments as a philosophical counselor or therapist (should some State ever permit that), I am not unfamiliar with the territory.
Like Progoff, Marinoff is convinced that the medical model is wildly inappropriate for the life quandries many of us find ourselves some of the time and some of much of the time, unless you take the Buddhist (or Augustinian) view that we are all born into a web of suffering we must work our way out of or find the grace to be saved from, in which case the medicine required is not such as a doctor would prescribe.
It would be depressing indeed if the Western philosophical tradition offered nothing in the way of bibliotheraphy for our perplexities. Lou Marinoff is a master of the literature, and shows very well how the ideas of the philosophers can be applied in our own circumstances. I would, of course select differently, but that is reason to write my own book, not to criticize his.
In any case, out there in Americaland the book parties continue, so you can see for yourself:
5/20 LOS ANGELES, CA
Barnes & Noble 7:00pm
10850 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
5/21 BERKELEY, CA
2424 Telegraph Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
5/27 CHICAGO, IL
830 N. Michigan
Chicago, IL 60611
I really enjoyed/agreed with Plato, Not Prozac. I was unaware he was publishing another book. I look forward to picking it up!
There was another one in between, which I didn't hear about until yesterday, on philosophical practice, which I will keep an eye out for.
Lou does great standup using an (unopened) box of fridge magnet hand puppets of the great philosophers as a prop. (Don't ask. You have to be there.)
Neat! And I am pleased to note that he'll be in Berkeley next Wednesday, so I can see/hear him.
2003-05-16 02:24 pm (UTC)
I hope you make it and let us know your reactions.
Boethius's first book on the
whole did not help me much
but perhaps his forthcoming
consolations beyond philosophy
will be more encouraging...
I think for me about the most that
philosophy as such does as provide
the sense of "the game's afoot", which
I feel the most where there is little
or no definite content...
isn't that what Eliot found in F H Bradley?
or rather that is didnt find of course, no
content at all. zero. similarly his book
on moral philosophy. Bishop Berkeley late
book I forget name is the same except there
is the reccomendation of tar water. Plato's
Parmenides also has no meaning at all that
could be put in words, not that people havent
Serious question, in the case of treating
or receiving philosophy in this way, how does
the therapeutic model work out? would the
not prozac people say well you and eliot at
least are getting an opiate?
2003-05-16 02:22 pm (UTC)
There are indeed folks who benefit from Prozac, and these can be identified by appropriate tests of their brains' ability to re-uptake serotonin. But Prozac is prescribed without such testing by doctors who are not trained in psychiatry -- and some who are, no doubt -- for folks who are merely for one reason or other sad. And this is wrong. For those who don't need the drug, Plato might do little good, but less harm.
Even folks who benefit from drug therapy might then need some kind of reorientation away from a perspective skewed by years of organic depression.
I don't know from opiates. Mantra meditation can cause the release of endorphins, and perhaps kinds of meditation encompassed by some kinds of philosophy can have the same effect.
Boethius is of course in the Roman martyrology as St. Severinus, Soren in Danish, an irony I like very much.
well that is very nice...
a bracing little bit of mental tar water
really in that.
of course I agree, and you put it very well...
I was just thinking there can be people for
whom there is consolation in a system of
philosophy like I dont know what someone who
says well now I understand why I feel like
crap all the time because so did this
philosopher and he explains why or something.
but then for others who rejoice in the
tarwater of it it is a gentler reliance...