ponedjeljak, 4. veljače 2013.

Practicing Philosophy with elders

   My efforts have borne fruit. Since i first engaged in philosophical practice, i wanted to do it all the way and in every possible way. This week im starting to facilitate Philosophy for elders workshops program of my own, and i hope this will be a good way to start with practical promotion of philosophical practice in Croatia.
The program is actually quite simple and it consists of six workshops, mostly based on Oscar Brenifier's approach to methods of socratic dialogue, problem solving, argumentation and conceptualisation. Basic goals of these workshops are to do something useful for community and to promote philosophical practice as philosophy for everyone.

   Few years ago Petit Philosophy association (of which i am a member) started promoting and doing philosophy for children in Croatia. Today, we want to expand to all forms of philosophical practice and philosophy for elders is just a part of that. Public image of philosophy and philosophers isn't good in Croatia and we want to change it by doing something useful for community. In my opinion, key issues here are that philosophy can be useful and that anyone can do philosophy.

   As i grew up and developed great interest in philosophy to a point that i want to study it on university level, i've been told, by my friends, parents, teachers, that philosophy is useless, that it's not even a real job and that i especially can't make a living out of it. Everyone around me seemed to be very pragmatic, but somehow i still wanted to follow the owl of Minerva and here i am, eight years after i first announced to my parents that i want to be poor lover of wisdom for the rest of my life, now trying to share some of the things i learned along the way and show how this strange, ridiculed poppycock we so pretentiously called philosophy can be of any use in everyday life.

   Across the street from my parents house, there actually lived a colleague of mine, philosopher, who moved out a few years before i even started to think about studying philosophy. He could have been a good support to my efforts, but all i was left with were farmers, like my father. I couldn't get any support there, because farmers in these parts of country were called philosophers only to mock one another when they talked too much gibberish. But, now i am trying to merge these two irreconcilable concepts - farmers and philosophy. Since philosophy for elders workshops will be held in two villages, almost all retired elders here were or even still are farmers. And as for me, this isn't the slightest problem - every single man or women during their lives at some point does a philosophical questioning, at least in their own head. The problem is that they either don't know that they are philosophizing or they can't get a good or reasonable answers for themselves.

   So, i hope to promote philosophical practice in a way to show people how philosophy can be useful for their everyday problems and that philosophy is something everyone can do. I hope that workshops will be firstly educational for participants and also interesting, challenging and fun to do. Surely, i will report on this blog after every session on how it went and what were the participant's reactions and comments. I hope we will be able to meet once every two weeks for next two or three months and i hope both groups, in two villages, will be satisfied with what they learn during our meetings. Unfortunately, i had no experience with education for elders before, so i am also hoping that after this program i will be able to compile specific philosophy workshop just for them if there is need, which means that i also hope to learn something and use it in future. At the end, i am really looking forward to this program and i hope that all elderly wisdom lovers will find some meaning within it.

Zoran Kojcic

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