Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks for Philosophy, Science Fiction, Good People

Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States.  Last year I discussed the weirdness of Macy's commandment: "Believe."  I also said that I was thankful for my regrets.  I'm not sure I have anything quite so clever to say this year, but I've been reflecting on being thankful for three things: philosophy, science fiction, and the people in my life.

The other day in my ancient Greek and Roman philosophy class I covered Pierre Hadot's observation that the ideal of Hellenistic and Roman philosophy is philosophy as a way of life.  That is, for most ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, philosophy was not merely an exercise of pure theory, it was supposed to radically transform one's life.

On that note, I'm thankful that I've been able to spend so much of my life studying philosophy.  I think philosophy has made me a better person, not just a deeper and more imaginative thinker, but a more patient, understanding, and compassionate person.  Or maybe I'm wrong (philosophy has also taught me to be humble about whether my beliefs are actually true).

I'm also thankful for science fiction, not just for the entertainment value, but for providing novel means of giddily expanding my imagination and my capacity for understanding the value of differences.  As my very first post on this blog argued, philosophy and science fiction are often fellow travelers down the same roads.  And for that I am thankful.

And I'm thankful for all the people in my life.  I'm lucky to have so many good family members, friends, acquaintances, and random strangers to provide love, support, challenges, and inspiration.  I'm not sure if Socrates was right that the unexamined life is not worth living, but my life would be far less examined and far less worth living without so many good people in it.

Lastly, thanks to you, dear reader, for stopping by my humble blog!  I hope you have things to be thankful for.  Let us heed Worf's words of wisdom: today is a good day for pie!

EDIT/CLARIFICATION: Note that I'm NOT claiming that being a philosopher or a science fiction fan are the only ways to be a good person.  They seem to work for me.  Something else may work for you.  I'm also not saying we should ignore the problematic history of Thanksgiving and America more generally.  But maybe the tradition of reflecting on being thankful is a good one.  Cheers!


  1. Happy Turkey Day! We are watching the MST3K special to celebrate.

    1. Nice! I'm not sure if I'll get to MST3K, but I think there are plans to watch Sharknado movies. Happy Turkey Day!

  2. At some point, I'll be watching some Dark Matter while being thankful for those good humans in my life.

    1. I've been meaning to check out that show. I will hopefully do so soon!