Feeling like an island in the middle of a sea of stupidity

Day in and day out life seems to be becoming mundane with no intellectual stimulation unless you actually go LOOKING for it. 

I had a nice surprise the other day when I discovered a new friend of mine was capable of having a philosophical debate. Yes! I am not alone! I can finally have someone in my life who doesn't want to talk small talk! I hate small talk. It's repetitive and mind numbingly useless. So I get all excited and think that I can FINALLY discuss all the things I've been wanting to discuss (religion, politics, evolution, the normal taboo stuff) with someone who is capable of intellectual conversation. 

Boy was I wrong. While discussing our similar philosophy background she mentioned that she fail 2nd year philosophy because she refused to write a paper on evolution. She then went on to discuss the fact that evolution is a 'no-no' subject. She believes what she believes and that is that, no discussion, don't even bring it up. Feeling like my hopes had just been dropped on their head I just mentioned how philosophy taught me that my beliefs may be wrong and that it was a difficult lesson to learn. We went on to talk about it in a different direction. Now I knew I could only discuss the things that SHE was comfortable with and she would not be willing to listen to any reason, regardless of her background in philosophy and what she had learnt through it... just like everyone else.

AAAAND I'm back at square one. Does any else feel terribly alone in this way? Like they have no one to discuss the things that interest them? It's not only these things but any of the things in general that interest me, ie science, astronomy, etc. 

I noticed a few of you mentioned that philosophy shouldn't be studied anymore or had similar views on it. I tend to find that those who study philosophy have at least a vague knowledge of the difference between debate and arguments, I enjoy debating but often my 'playing the devils advocate' sense of discussion tends to infuriate people as they can't understand how I am able to entertain a thought without having to believe in it. People who have studied philosophy tend to see it as a debate and not an argument which is what I'm looking for so desperately! I want a real life intellectual debate! Any discussion that doesn't involve 'so have you seen so and so's new boyfriend?'

I'd like to see that I'm not alone with this whole feeling of being alone. Hehehe

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Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on December 5, 2013 at 6:26pm

I purchased a new copy of Machiavelli’s “The Prince” yesterday as it is the 500 anniversary of its publication. The store clerk engaged me in a conversation and mentioned he was a philosophy graduate and loved to study it. So I mentioned that Hegel once said that “the study of philosophy is the introduction to philosophy”. He gave me a bemused look so I asked what he thought of Hawking’s statement that philosophy is dead and that Science is all we need to use in our quest for knowledge and truth. He looked alarmed at that. I did not get all of his reply because his first sentences had the words “real knowledge” “real truth” and “Jesus” in it. I turned, grabbed “God is not Great” off the shelf, left it on the counter and walked out saying “Jesus Wept”

I hope your head has stopped hurting Teri..:-)

Comment by bongani muthwa on December 6, 2013 at 1:44am

A retired philosophy  professor, now a commited Atheist, once said to us ( as in a pub meeting group of free thinkers in Midrand, JHB SA) Philosophy should not be studied any more.

Comment by M.M. on December 6, 2013 at 3:19am

I have almost completely withdrawn from talking to strangers 100%.

But I live in the Southern U.S. so it should be understandable.

And I dont pretend to be smarter or more informed, I am only worn out and defeated.

And I think they should be as relieved as I am that we do not interact.

Comment by Warren on December 6, 2013 at 8:00am

There are too many people that are comfortable in their stupidity, as my father blew me off when I tried to explain or tell him about something, "It's a lot to know".

Comment by Ed on December 6, 2013 at 9:54am

Hell Teri, don't give up on your friend yet. Engage her, help her oil those dried out, rusty cogs of reasoned thought. At the least it will be stimulating....

Comment by Teri G on December 6, 2013 at 11:01am

Oh no! I saved this as a draft, I didn't mean to post it! Whoops!

Comment by Teri G on December 6, 2013 at 1:20pm

Ok, this is what I meant to post :)

Comment by Davis Goodman on December 6, 2013 at 2:27pm

There's lots of ways to get connected with people of the same mind set. Couchsurfing.com for example is far more than a way to get a free place to stay while traveling. They have lots of activities and parties and meet-ups. Even if you are from a small town...you're probably no more than an hours drive from somewhere that does have a group and they are usually open minded and respect the basic rules of discussion. There are also other forums online for social meeting. Also check out friends of friends on facebook and see if any have studied philosophy or theology. Great conversations can be had with theologists and they are often the least pugnacious of god-believers in terms of fair and reasoned discussion.

There are always a series of special lectures at Universities and some colleges that anyone can attend and take part in Q&A afterwards and to mingle a little.

You might find that some people who studied philosophy or who are couchsurfers or new age post modernists...are into voodoo and woo in general but they are quite likely to be open to a reasonable conversation once you get past their favourite magic stones and actually get into the architecture behind their beliefs.

If you are truly stuck in the middle of nowhere with no hope in sight of having a buddy to have meaningful conversations...consider getting the hell out of but-fu**-nowhere. And if you just can't leave...maybe take some acid and mushrooms at the same time...and at least you'll be able to have a conversation with yourself ;)

Comment by Elon Johnson on December 6, 2013 at 2:47pm
I feel exactly like you. I am from Mexico, I moved to the US (South-ULTRAconservative part) two years ago. I became an atheist during the first year in the US. Since then, I've been meeting people but almost all of them are Jesus people, the ones who aren't, is because they really haven't thought about it or they don't care. So yeah, the closest intellectual discussion I've had is with my father about education (he was a college professor), but he is Christian, so I really haven't talked my atheism with anyone.
Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on December 6, 2013 at 2:49pm

You are certainly not alone in thinking like that. I have wondered similar things. I have at times been very dismissive of people that appear to have no intellectual curiosity and are more pre-occupied with the dumbed down banalities of soap operas. I am not talking about people who have been disadvantage by life in some way but rather people I would consider to be my peers and who can afford to ponder the bigger questions in life. I will confess that at times that I am so intolerant of “stupid” that I dismiss some people’s opinions very quickly. I may be somewhat conceited and an intellectual snob at times but I sometimes feel that “they” are driving me to that position with their mundane thoughts and hero worshipping of their gods.

I have felt like shaking them by the throat and saying “Snap out of it and grow up” especially when I hear grown men and women tell me with such assumed authority that “goddidit”. They will dismiss with a wave of their hand everything I believe, not because I believe it, but because it is not what they believe. They are completely unable to engage in any form or debate on such subjects and immediately see any questions by me as an attempt at causing an argument. Of course they would rather view me like that otherwise they would have to think about what they are saying.

Then there are the people who don’t know or can’t decide what they believe.  They get as far as saying something like “well nobody can ever really know, can they”? They actually think such a trite statement is a display of wisdom. Next please…..ok I had better cool it…lol


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