The greek comedian Aristophanes wrote, in the V century b.c., a comedy play called The Clouds, in which he criticize and parody the philosophical attitude towards life. Aristophanes or, to be precise, the characters of the play, see Socrates while he’s floating in a basket in order to make up his mind and think properly. This is a strong attack against thinkers and philosophy in general, it becomes clear when the comedian suggest the readers that philosophers deal with useless issues and build their dialectic in order to persuade others.
I don’t want to explain that play in this article, but I tend to think that this is a great example to prove this point: philosophers are seen as lunatics, strange people who use their abstract reasoning to reflect about metaphysics and other stuff too far away from reality. We can find tons of examples like the one I depicted before.
Plato, in his Theaetetus, tells the story of a Thracian slave, who saw Thales of Miletus falling into a well. She couldn’t help laughing so hard at him and she said that he fell because he was too busy studying the sky, of course he couldn’t watch his step!
What does this mean? The metaphor often used to describe philosopher is the one of the “Ivory Tower”, according to which thinkers are locked up in their fortress of solitude and no one else is allowed to enter or understand.
I am convinced that a change of perspective is more than necessary. But How can philosophy possibly affect our society? What can we do to make this happen? This article is the beginning of a reflection about us as human beings, the way in which we act and how it produces consequences in the world we live in.
I hope you enjoyed it!
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