Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy' | Posted on 01-01-2010
Well hello 2010! A new year, a new blog. Where to start? As I mean to go on I suppose… with an unedited, unstructured, perhaps unintelligible stream of consciousness, because the primary purpose of this new online space of mine is to ease up some of my own mental space. A wee intro first…
At the risk of sounding pretentious, contrived or clichéd, I’ve realised I need, or rather could hugely benefit from, having a place to mentally offload without anyone directly telling me I’m crazy, wrong or incomprehensible. The usual problem when I begin to write is that I can’t stop (pringle syndrome), or that I get so far from the original point by playing some kind of word-association game with myself that I have no idea why I sat down to write in the first place, so my plan is to limit myself to one general idea each day; it doesn’t makes sense to me to spend more time writing about life than living it.
I don’t really want to use this blog to talk about specific events, people or places (I have another blog which documented my initial reactions to the great and overwhelming US of A!) but rather to log more general thoughts about life, which of course are in some way shaped by specific experiences. Sometimes I feel as though the perspectives I gain from certain experiences would be beneficial to me (and who knows, maybe someone else) if maintained at other points in life, but I worry that they’re only fleeting and easily forgotten, so hopefully this blog can serve as a reminder to myself, just like sniffing the delightful scent of silage or hearing Maroon 5 tunes can instantly transport me back to crawling around Cornwall or dancing around my dorm at school.
Now I should explain the seemingly bizarre blog title… When I was ten I saw a book on my then 17-year-old brother’s shelf called Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. At that time I thought ‘cool, a book with my name in the title, I have to read it’. I had no idea what it was about, no idea at first that it was in fact ‘a novel about the history of philosophy’, and no idea that, even though 11 years later I still haven’t finished it (simply because I’m the world’s slowest reader – I’ve started it about four times and have now bought the audiobook in my determination to get to the end), it would have a profound effect on my life. Without going into too much detail, it reassured me that other people (probably every single person at some stage) thought and wondered in the same way I did, and set in motion my excitement for philosophy.
The one part of the book that suddenly clicked with me and has remained with me ever since is in chapter two, where Albert Knox tells Sophie that most humans are buried deep inside the fur of a (presumably elephantine) white rabbit, a rabbit which has just been pulled out of a hat by a magician. Philosophers are those humans who feel the urge and dare to climb to the top of the rabbit’s hairs to stare into the magician’s eyes and attempt to understand the workings of the ‘trick’. Since reading that I’ve always tried to maintain perspective and to question life as if atop the hairs aboard the great rabbit of life(!)… I actually wrote my reactions to this part of the book in a purple notebook when I was 13; maybe I’ll track it down and post it up here sometime – could be angsty and entertaining.
Incidentally, my blog profile just revealed to me that my zodiac year is the rabbit. It also just struck me that the title of this blog could easily and alternatively be taken as a reference to my ‘rabbiting’ on… I think it’s time to get onto thought number one of the first year of the rest of our lives.