On quarrels and philosophers

by Lorenzo Piccoli


I am back in Florence and I have a bit more time to get focused on my work. Hopefully, I will now stop going out every night and have more time to write in the night following to my ridiculous working hours.

Today I met Julie at the supermarket and she asked if I am a philosopher since I write so much on my blog. Of course I am not – everyone who knows me seriously is aware that I am, in fact, an improviser or, if you will, a cazzaro. But this suggests me a reflection about something bigger, and more precisely about philosophy. To be a philosopher is not merely to elaborate thoughts, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates. This can thus imply a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, trust, whatever! It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. And the sad thing is, as Thoreau used to say, that there are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.

Which leads me to the second part of this absurd post. Tonight we had our first gentlemen’s night chez Pierre and it was not a gentlemen’s night at all – though being a very enjoyable night, after all. Having exhausted our arguments about football and girls, we eventually got into some decently serious political debates. The interesting thing, I believe, is that people usually do not trust so firmly in the opinions they defend. But they do defend these opinions until the end, as they become the dearest thing to them. Quarrels among friends in cars, cafeterias, and private rooms can get extraordinary powerful. Why is it? After all, most of these private disputes won’t change anything at all. However, as Kundera once pointed out, once men have expressed their opinions, these opinions become their attributes, and men feel morally obliged to defend them as an extension of their self and consequently, of course, of their honour.

Having spoken so wisely I retreat and leave you with a question:  should we all go vegetarian*?

* If you ask me, I still think we shouldn’t. When Julie met me at the supermarket I was just about to buy a massive Fiorentina steak.

Advertisements