The practical use of philosophy is not whether you can make money out of it, or stack the dishes in a better fashion or make somebody get you a fresh cup of coffee.

It's all about opening up the brain to thinking about deep topics. Otherwise that bit of our thinkingness gets eaten up by other things, like how to make the housekeeping money go further, or how to win some online game, or remembering who said what in every episode of Friends.

I love talking Plato, or puzzling out the Sanskrit of the Vedas, or deconstructing Shakespeare. Things that normal people don't do. Get a group of people talking about the same thing, led by a tutor who knows the subject well, and it is my idea of heaven.

You know how to win at philosophy? Not by stacking up more logic and facts and science and research.

No, you win with your ears. Push your own thoughts down into your boots and listen to the other person's heart and soul. Put all of your attention into what they are doing and saying.

Who knows, you might learn something.

Eventually they will pause, and you ask a question. Not something you've been building up and preparing to launch in a devastating strike. That just means you haven't been listening while you have been preparing your counterstroke.

No, something will come up. Some loose thread that caught your notice. Some sparkle or shadow that needs a better view.

And then listen to the answer.

That's what philosophy is. People coming together to discover the truth. You'll know when you get there, because there will be no more questions left.


Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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