srijeda, 12. lipnja 2013.

Practicing Philosophy on a Bicycle

As promised, today i will write more detailed post on how philocycling, or philosophy on a bicycle, excercise works.

   Today i did a solo philocycling route for about 2 hours. This time i connected it with previous practice of philosophical walks, by Dutch philosopher Peter Harteloh, whom i met last year during a seminar in France. His method connects philosophical concepts with space and place. Before the philosophical walk, each participant is given a piece of paper with a quote by some famous philosopher. Participants should find a philosophical concept related to this quote, walk in silence and during a walk find a place which reminds them most of the chosen concept. Philocycling could be done in same manner, perhaps when done in group, but since i've done it alone this time, i deceided to choose a concept for self analysis before cycling. 

   My main concept was related to work. As i cycle from my starting point to first resting stop, i thought about my next direction in professional life - since i just finished a course on philosophical counselling, i examined my choices, possible solutions for starting own business and where this may lead me in future. After about 15 minutes of cycling, i came to my first stop.

   My first stop was in the fields, next to the road, exactly where i stopped yesterday. Main concept which i related to this place was 'change'. Yesterday i was really sorry i didn't bring my phone so i could take some photos of beautifuly shaped clouds. Today, of course, clouds were completely different. For a moment i thought about Hegel, and his explanation of how we can't speak about beauty when it comes to nature, precisely because it is all time changing. According to Hegel, beauty lies in unchangable things, but when i come to think of it, something can be beautiful even for a moment, whether it's a cloud, a song, or a painting.

   Continuing on my cycling route, work was still my main analysis object. This time i thought about my current work and how it can be really rewarding. Being a teacher is truly hard work, but if one gives himself to others in his work, sincerely and honestly, others recognize it and they give something back. Now comes the question whether it is selfish or not, to expect something in return. More on that after the next stop:

   My second stop was just after a long climb uphill. Here, i thought mostly about a concept of goals. Hills usually have a challenging effect on me, maybe because i live in plain area. Each hill, whether it's lower or higher, represents a challenge for me and i have some kind of urge to climb it, where it's top represents a goal. In life we tend to do the same, we set our goals up high and make an effort to achieve whatever goals might be up there.  

   As i continued my rout, i returned to the concept of selfishness. I have come to conclusion that i am a selfish person when it comes to my professional efforts, but i always make sure that out of my selfish needs comes something useful for others, too. In fact, being selfish isn't something utterly wrong, as some religious teachings told us, but a basic human animal instinct. What makes us a bit different from other animals is the ability to say 'No' when needed, to stop acting when our selfish golas can harm others in any way. Unfortunately, some of us humans aren't always ready to stop themselves when it gets to that point. 

   My third stop was by the river Danube, which at this point represents natural border between Croatia and Serbia. Also, in last few days, Danube is flooding the area, making a lot of damage in Central Europe and soon to come near my village, maybe even setting new record in water level. This reminded me of concept of power, and mostly of the power of nature over men. We may set dams in order to protect our property, but if things get wild, there isn't much we can do about it. I asked myself, how far will people go untill they completely conquer nature, and will we ever be able to.

   On my way home, after a long ride, Danube reminded me of my childhood, because i grew up by this great river. Wanting to connect my previous concept of work and my childhood, i tried to remeber what i wanted to be when i grow up. Most of the children want to be firemen, policemen, doctors or vets, they want to help others in best possible way, but i really couldn't remeber wanting any of that. I remembered that my grandmother wanted me to be a priest or a doctor, in her own words, so that other would respect me; and my father wanted me to be a farmer, like him...then it came to me - at first i wanted to be an astronaut, and then archaeologist. I don't know why i didn't achieve that, but i do know that i didn't stop asking myself the same questions since then, questions maybe nobody knows the answer to. Questioning, i guess, was what i always did, and probably what i will always do.

Zoran Kojcic

1 komentar:

  1. I mostly think random thoughts, sometimes even big thoughts, but that seemingly have nothing to do with my surroundings or any direct source. I look right through things, without noticing they're even there. You, on the other hand, are really observational and systematic, and much less chaotic, which is lovely. Your train of thoughts is direct and clear, and your approach is completely different than mine (if I even have one). But we mostly reach the same conclusions, it seems.