Wednesday, November 12, 2014

So I bought this book............................

...............titled Dr. Seuss and Philosophy:  Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!    I've noticed over the years that philosophers tend to confuse me.  Perhaps I was hoping that my old friend Dr. Seuss would help me sort things out.   The first chapter, an essay by Benjamin Rider, was based on Oh, the Places You'll Go (to save you the trouble of rummaging around your attic trying to find your old copy, the complete text is posted below.).  Rider concludes his essay like this:

The ending of Oh, the Places You'll Go! is thoroughly positive.  Dr. Seuss assures us that, if we take his advice and set off boldly along the journey of life, we'll do great things.  But how can Seuss be so confident of success?  Aren't some setbacks and slumps just too much to overcome?  Don't even the best choices sometimes fail to work out?

     Once again, I thing Dr. Seuss's answer to these questions is similar to the ones Socrates and other ancient philosophers would give.  Socrates and most ancient philosophers argued that, in the final reckoning, the external events of life aren't what matter most.  If you don't actually fly ahead of other people or win games or manage to move a mountain, that's not important.  What matters is the attitude you have about life, the choices you make in the face of what life gives you.  Seuss and the ancient philosophers agree that someone who has the courage to question and find her own path and the wisdom to face problems and challenges with equanimity, who develops rational abilities to make good decisions about her life, will almost certainly succeed in life.

Enjoy the rest of Dr.Seuss's story, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

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