June 8th, 2022

Far best is he who knows all things himself;
Good, he that hearkens when men counsel right;
But he who neither knows, nor lays to heart
Another's wisdom, is a useless wight.
- Hesiod

Today before work I went to the library, I didn't know what I was looking for but I was open to anything. I picked up a fat collection of Aristotle after browsing through the rather paltry philosophy section. I sat down in my usual spot, the corner of a rather large table sitting in front of the reference section since it's a little difficult to make unintentional eye contact, and I read the Nichomachean Ethics for 7 straight hours; and it was a good time. I think about 7 different people came and went by the time I was done.

One thing I'd like to do is get less of my general information on philosophy from Wikipedia and YouTube and discipline myself to start reading entries from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. When I first started getting into philosophy I did so through the YouTube videos of Cuck Philosophy and Philosophy Tube, among others on so called Bread Tube, but reflecting on that experience over all, I think that was a mistake, but a necessary mistake and rather forgivable. What I consider myself reproachable for is thinking that was all I had to do and not making enough effort to comb through the literature itself and acclimating myself to secondary accounts. I don't necessarily think it's wrongheaded to learn philosophy along with YouTube videos, but I do think challenging myself to actually read a bit of Hegel along with Greg Sadler was a far better experience than watching someone you may trust discuss particularly dense thinkers in broad outlines. While that can certainly be interesting, enjoyable, even edifying, I see it now as a far cry from the patient work of getting through labyrhinthine tomes with the right amount of passivity in passages of difficulty.

That said, over the weekend I went ahead and drew up a plan of 10 works of philosophy primary to get through and I'll be tackling that for a while before I get back to what I consider my main studies, as I feel my grasp of the canon has overall been rather insufficient to the task of studying German Idealism fruitfully. I went ahead and put a work of Chinese philosophy and a work of Lenin in there to better round it out.

I recently started learning a little bit more about comparative philosophy and I think it's pretty neat, for anyone unfamiliar, it's basically doing philosophy with reference to traditions that had very little contact with each other historically. A popular method seems to be comparing Western and Eastern traditions. I found quite a bit of works on comparative philosophy that seem pretty darn interesting, one on the similarties of Greek Pyrrhonism and Buddhism, one on classical Maya philosophy, and another book that's a comparative history of philosophy that cross references between the Greeks, Indians, Chinese, and maybe some others. For a world as widely interconnected as it is now, it really does strike me as a solid way of undertaking the study of philosophy, I'll have to see what some common problems are in that field.

Something I wondered was, in some respect, is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism already doing comparative philosophy? It's certainly begun to transplant itself to Non-Western settings where practitioner-theorists would be somewhat familiar or better, quite familiar with their own Non-Western philosophical traditions. The 2 main traditions that get compared, Indian and Chinese both have works of philosophy that deal with issues relevant to their native traditions, I've seen a work from Indian Maoists critiquing Brahmanism, and I've seen Chinese works critiquing Confucianism. It might not be comparative philosophy in the way philosophers commonly understand it, but I think comparative philosophy that seriously takes their labours into account would certainly be by far the most interesting of all.

That's just about everything I've been thinking of today, signing off again to return to what I'm reading for the night.