Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The consolation of philosophy

When you get all balled up inside about personal issues, there is nothing like a good shot of classic philosophy to help you regain some emotioinal stability! Last night I woke up in the middle of the night fretting about some things going on in my life. I went downstairs with the intent to pray. What I did instead was pick up Aristotle's Logic and begin to work through it carefully and systematically. The work was hard; it took me a while to understand some concepts, such as the idea of something being "present in" another. I found the distinction between primary and secondary substance useful for a point I make in Trinity class. I'm now working on understanding the difference between "differentiae" and the essential components of a secondary substance.

Anyway, in doing this work, doing something objective outside of myself, I was able to gain a sense of distance from my own situation and calmed down considerable. Then I was able to look at my own issues more effectively.

This is not the same as Pascal's "distractions," since it didn't ultimately prevent me from addressing my issues. It is more like an intellectual exercise that allows you to see things in perspective.

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