Tuesday, March 16, 2021

On the Youthful Fascination with Pop Philosophers

Why are pop philosophers popular with the young but are discarded by the older folks? The answer is that when the young read such philosophers, they do so with an attitude of “heroic fury and aspiration”—they are not looking for mere philosophical knowledge; they are looking for a vindication of an ideal that they desperately want to believe in. They want to believe in the possibility of a utopia, and they think that the pop philosophy will somehow help them in creating it. They submerge their youthful personality into the pop philosophy, but when they grow older, the knowledge of other readings and the wisdom gained from life’s hard experiences kicks in, and they recognize the inconsistencies and stupidities in the pop philosophy that they had so naively accepted. They have now reached the stage where they can study without succumbing to the false hope of finding the ultimate answers to life’s grave questions.

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