Two and a Half Irrational Men

. . . that man is assimilated more and more completely to his social function. And it is just here that a troublesome and profound ambiguity resides for the philosopher today. The profession of philosophy did not always have the narrow and specialized meaning it now has. In ancient Greece it had the very opposite: instead of a specialized theoretical discipline philosophy there was a concrete way of life, a total vision of man and the cosmos in the light of which the individual’s whole life was to be lived. These earliest philosophers among the Greeks were seers, poets, almost shamans-as well as the first thinkers. Mythological and intuitive elements permeate their thinking even where we see the first historical efforts toward conceptualization; they traffic with the old gods even while in the process of coining a new significance for them; and everywhere in the fragments of these pre-Socratic Greeks is the sign of a revelation greater than themselves which they are unveiling for the rest of mankind. Even in Plato, where the thought has already become more differentiated and specialized and where the main lines of philosophy as a theoretical discipline are being laid down, the motive of philosophy is very different from the cool pursuit of the savant engaged in research. Philosophy is for Plato a passionate way of life; and the imperishable example of Socrates, who lived and died for the philosophic life, was the guiding line of Plato’s career for five decades after his master’s death. Philosophy is the soul’s search for salvation, which means for Plato deliverance from the suffering and evils of the natural world.

(Page 5, Irrational Man)

This is a quote from Irrational Man that I copied from the PDF file I have. For some reason it overlaps the lines so random sections are repeated. It was very difficult to proofread because I had to read back and forth and make sure that the digital copy matched the paper book.

Nevertheless, I am sending you this section as my answer to the questions you posed. You could say that copying and pasting has little to do with writing, and you would be correct. However, I am trying to work out these issues so that such banal and tedious tasks will become effortless, and I can devote my time to more important work: Unveiling the sign of a revelation greater than ourselves for the benefit of all mankind. Not the cool pursuit of a savant engaged in research, but rather a passionate way of living. In the parlance of the recent past to “not just talk the talk, but also, to walk the walk.”

Walking of speaks, we can go bird watching along the canal, can we not? Not a park, but not one of the designated, though dismal and inadequate areas, officially approved. We need not venture over the fence, where trespassers will be violated, but can still see from our perch on public roads. I have often spotted Great White Egrets while on the 22 bus, if I remember to look as we cross that bridge when we come to it. It isn’t a Sewage Treatment Plant (phew!) or the desolate and dusty outskirts of an airport. And thank God for that minor miracle.

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