For 2,500 years, humans have been trying to formulate ideas about how we should live, what constitutes a good liife, and how happiness may be reached. We have considered material goods, the pursuit of duty, the application of pure rational thought, resignation, and a variety of other methods to reach a good life, as well as endless combinations of these ideas. We hope always to improve our lives and to become better people. But after 2,500 years, can we be said to have improved, to be happier? When one reads ancient letters, journals, and essays, one finds very much the same concerns and activities as those which occupy us now. What, then, is the purpose or point of philosophy? Is there one? Sometimes I feel that the point is to make the philosopher feel smarter or better than the general populace. It seems very much a pursuit for the benefit of an individual rather than society. In the 300s BCE, Epicurus told us that happiness could be attained with friendship, freedom, and thought, and that we habitually and needlessly purchased expensive goods to satisfy the needs of our souls; modern corporations still use this habit against us. In the first century CE, many Roman orators and writers described politics as being more about personal glory than the greater good; this appears to continue as it was. In the 1500s, Montaigne made similar observations about education as might be made today: that it teaches fact without teaching understanding, what to think but not how to think. Socrates himself told us to question every presumption, to apply logic and rational thought in all matters, and that a view held by a figure of authority or by a majority or for a very long time is not necessarily correct simply because of that fact. When you look around and see what we have done with such wisdom, one might be forgiven for taking Schopenhaur’s grim view of the world!
Evelyn is getting more of a grasp on language now, and says many understandable things. She’s really good at ‘bubble’ and ‘bread’, and ‘wa-wer’ consistently means ‘shower’. We get ‘more, more,’ whenever she wants, well, more of something. She makes a sort of ‘jooossss’ noise which clearly means ‘juice’. She makes, upon request, the correct noises for a variety of animals, including dog, cat, elephant, snake, monkey, sheep, and cow. She says ‘eye’ while poking me in it. There are plenty more, but those are her best and clearest sounds. She’s becoming quite the chatterbox!
I’m standing at my kitchen bench, on the wrong side! My friend Chantell has come over to bake, as her oven is broken. My sole condition was that she bake gluten free goods, so I could nibble! So I’m watching – and sort of helping – as she makes yo-yos and muffins. The first batch of yo-yos flopped, but we’re trying again, and I think this recipe will work better! The muffins should be good; they’re cheese and caraway seed. I’d never heard of caraway before, but it smells awesome. Oh, they’re finished, they taste good too! Makes up for the failed yo-yos.
Ok, fine, I’ll put her muffin recipe here.
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 cup grated cheese (although she actually used about twice that!)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
3/4 cup milk
50 grams butter, melted.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in mustard powder, cheese, and caraway seeds.
Combine egg and milk, then stir them and the butter into the dry ingredients.
Spoon into muffin trays and back at 200 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes.
Would it lower your self of steam if I told you the correct phrase was ‘self esteem’?