Philosophers

PHILOSOPHERS:

They aspire, always, to lucidity.
Bishop Berkely saw, with lucidity,
our misplaced trust in “reality”.
“Ideas”, in the mind, are all that exist;
all else is delusion, he would insist.

Doctor Johnson, of the great “Dictionary”,
impatient with the wiles of Philosophy,
saw no need for protracted dispute;
for Berkeley’s theory was easy to refute.
The Truth, clearly there, for all to see.
Johnson’s boot, the stone: “Thus, I refute thee!”

Perception, consciousness;
what we see, what we think.
Our little lives, ended in a blink.

I’ve mentioned before, in this blog, about coming across a couple of books by Colin Wilson in my local public library, when I was a teenager.  Wilson had a way of making the “History of Ideas” incredibly exciting, and he wrote about philosophers and artists as if they were action heroes.  His books sparked off a fascination with Philosophy for me, which has persisted to the present day.  Whilst I find it fascinating, I have never studied it academically, and am often frustrated by certain philosophers of the school of “Linguistic Analysis”.  I also tend to disagree with the emphasis on Logic and intellectual rigour as being the only methods worth thinking about.  Philosophy, for me, should be a much broader, inclusive subject, encompassing imagination, emotions, and the history of human thought and literature.

The well-known tale – told in Boswell’s epic Life of Samuel Johnson – of Johnson’s “refutation” of Berkeley’s philosophy of “Idealism” by kicking a stone has always amused me, and my poem “Philosophers” is an attempt to tell the story in verse.

 

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