Friday, January 8, 2010

What is Philosophy?

Inspiration for this post has not come from a profound answer that I happened to stumble upon during my nightly, deep ponderings of life (by nightly I mean rare to none. The latter actually), but from a hilarious joke and presentation from my philosophy professor of what philosophy is not. Here's how it went.

Our first assignment for the class was to ask three people "what is philosophy?" and we would discuss the answers in class. In our class, a common answer came up, which was that philosophy is the love of wisdom. Our professor then began a 30-minute lecture, as if he had been hoping and praying that this answer would come up in class, about how "love of wisdom" is not what philosophy is and that it in fact tells us nothing about philosophy. Now for the best part.

He began to break down why people would think that philosophy means "love of wisdom." It came down to this. If we look at the word philosophy from its Greek origins, we see that phil(o) = love and sophy = wisdom/knowledge. Sometimes, this kind of breakdown of a word from its origin helps us to understand and get a good grasp of what it might mean, but not in this case. Then came the best example I have heard in my life.

He presented us with this scenario: He needed a babysitter for the night while he and his wife enjoyed a nice dinner together. They were discussing who they should hire for the job. "Hey! The perfect guy for the job is Steve, from down the street. He's a pedophile" (ped = child/kid, phil = love, thus a kid lover or person who loves kids). Perfect, right? ... Wrong!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reflections on a First Week

This is my last semester of my bachelors at BYU and the first week has been an interesting one. Here's how it went:

Monday :: Longest day. Ever.
I start the day at 10am with a philosophy class. What is philosophy? Who knows. I guess that's why I'm taking the class. Then I was off to Form and Analysis at 11. Another music class. Should be a good one. Then a little break before a rigorous rehearsal of Mahler 5 at 1pm. Yeah, Mahler is kicking my butt. It's going to take a lot of practice to play that piece. After rehearsal, which ends at 3, I just sat around waiting for horn class to start at 5. Then work at 6. This isn't as bad as my Mondays last semester, but it will be a close second. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday :: Worst day. Ever.
I started off the day with a horn lesson. That wasn't the bad part. What comes next really made my day awesome. After horn lessons, I was not feeling well at all. Thanks to a beautiful friend, Kristin, I was able to get home so that I could get some rest. Didn't get much rest though. I spent the remainder of my afternoon getting to know my toilet really well. A little too well. Because of this, I missed my composition class and work as well. Kristin also came down with a huge migraine, which was also no fun.

Wednesday :: Things are looking up!
I turned in my first assignments. I was playing awesome in orchestra. Learned that philosophy does NOT mean love of wisdom. Still don't know what it is, though. Turned in my program and packet for my senior composition recital. I'm excited for it (I'm still scrambling for some players, which is kind of scary!). Went to a fun art store with Kristin where she bought a ton of acrylic paints for this semester (can't wait to see her new projects!). I worked that night and got bored, tried to find some stuff to do and eventually left for home.

Thursday :: Not too shabby
The morning was a little rough because my stomach was not cooperating. Everything settled down by class time (I don't start classes until 3pm! First time ever!) I spent most of the morning practicing, which felt really good. I haven't had that much time to just sit down and practice for a long time. I may actually get good at the horn this semester!

Friday :: Great day!
Found out that my philosophy teacher is hilarious. Ate some Pier 49 pizza. Absolutely fantastic. Got completely embarrassed in front of one person. No one else in the world saw what happened, but I turned red and was quite embarrassed anyway. Learned a ton about 20th century orchestration in just two hours from one piece by Mahler. Cool! Then, the day ended with a game of operation and building a fort. How cool is that?

Though things started out a little rough and dismal, things only got better. If my semester reflects anything from this first week, it is going to be an amazing semester.