This Thing Called Contextual Philosophy
Struggles to make philosophical conversations relevant
I find myself feeling empty and frustrated during conversations of philosophical nature. By that, I mean conversations that are not gossip, or about success or money and are about the meanings of xyz. The feeling has occurred numerous times with numerous people.
I enjoy those conversations, that is why I get excited at meeting people with whom I can talk that kind of stuff. But everytime, I end up disappointed and perhaps the other person(s) does too. Things go nowhere. Ideas go nowhere. Feelings go nowhere. What begins with beats of excitement always finishes with melodies of emptiness and frustration. Like swimming in nothing. There’s nothing to discuss after a certain point, no more to go. A void. A big dark void!
But a few days ago, after I devised a little concept called Contextual Philosophy I have begun to not only learn from but also enjoy philosophical conversations.
Contextual Philosophy begins with a simple premise: Why the hell should I talk philosophy with this person(s)? and goes to these:
- I will not talk philosophy with this person because I enjoy it
- I will not talk philosophy with this person because this person seems to enjoy it
- I will not talk philosophy with this person because we are bored
- I will not talk philosophy with this person to boast
- I will not talk philosophy with this person because I am a writer
- I will not talk philosophy with this person because I have just read a book
- I will not talk philosophy with this person because I am frustrated with my life
and so on…
As you can see, this leaves me with not many reasons to talk philosophy with people and hence gives momentum to contextual philosophy.
Why should I really talk philosophical stuff with this person?
I have had a couple of conversations after this conceptualization and things have gone smooth. Emptiness and frustrations haven’t been there while fruitful conversations have existed. Philosophical ideas have been relevant.
While I try to think why this process has worked — apart from the questions raised restraining me from unnecessary impluses — I have experienced a few worthy reasons to be having philosophical conversations :
- If the ideas exchanged during the conversation make the participants question their desires in life,
- If all the participants can constantly question: what new conclusion will we derive from this conversation.
For instance, if we are conversing about the existence of god — and if we deduct all ‘I will not talk ifs…’ from it, we will be making sure all points we reach will be connected to the desires we keep within ourselves and will generate new observations. But, it has to be relevant to all parties. Although this may not seem like much of a change, it ensures the conversation doesn’t go out of hand (mind) and always has relevance to the lives of the participants. This takes away the unnecessary and void from philosophy.
I have found this to be a useful thing which has eradicated the emptiness and frustration.
While this may seem similar to Selective Talking, it is different as it deals with philosophical matters only — while Selective Talking could be about anything with anyone.
This simple experiment of keeping the context of philosophical conversation in mind while thinking up new thoughts and arguments, doesn’t allow philosophical talks to be empty which can also be applied to personal musings and writings.