Was at Kinokuniya philosophy section last Tuesday (28 June 2005). While browsing through some books with Joyce, someone sounded from our back,"That's not a good book". Wondering which philosopher would that be, i turned and saw a yellow skin post middle-aged (50-60) asian standing there looking at us.
So, we talked.
(if you are wondering...Yes... this entry is another weird conversation that i had)
Asano: Plato's written works of Socrates is good. Do you know that Socrates is the father of our civilised XXXXXXX(some words of Mr.Asano that i forgot). Beginners must read Plato's ethics. But i think German philosophy is the best.
me (gave a frenly smile): Socrates yea, "An unexamined life is not worth living."
**At this point, Mr. Asano seems to have no idea what am i talking about. And i actually repeated 4 times of that "An unexamined life is not worth living" before i told him who said it.
Asano: We must look at life from a distance, a far distance, to really know about ourselves and life, just like philosophers. To understand (or study) philosophy, we must be at least above 50. Just like when we look from a hill, we have a better view of things.
me: But when we are on top of the hill, although our view is better, but we will lost clarity of the object that we want to focus on.
Asano: Look, i am talking metaphorically, you can't take it literally.
me: Well, i am talking metaphorically too.
**Mr. Asano looked at me for a while before we continued.
Asano: You cannot interpret literally that of metaphoric(as if he didnt hear me just now). Like i told my students, a good book is a book that we read for the 100th time and yet still dont understand. That's why i told them not to read but 'dig'; dig into the book to get the truth. But nowadays, literature and philosophy have been commercialized. They emphasize more on the cover of the book than its content. That's why the cover of my book is plain.
**He showed me his book; the cover has some typing on a sheet of white A5, nothing else. Titled "American Breakfast" by Hideo Asano.
me: Have you heard of Natsume Soseki?
Asano: I dont know about Japanese writters. I think they are all rubbish. 3 reasons, first, they dont have the Bible, second, they dont talk to strangers, third...(i forgot).
me: The Bible? Why is it？
Asano: Because the Bible is the foundation of all philosophies. No one can write anything without the Bible.
me: Are you a Christian?
Asano: No, but i like the Bible. There is truth in it, different from contemporary books. All books (while he was pointing at the literature and philosophy sections) are rubbish. There isnt any truth in it anymore. And to study this (he pointed to the philosophy section), we must be above 50.
me: In that case, am i too young to study (or read) philosophy?
** He was silent for a while before we continued.
me: What is truth? How can we find truth?
Asano: To find truth, we must close our eyes to feel (or think of) the truth. When our eyes are closed, then only we can find truth.
me: Well, have you heard of Lao Tzu, the ancient chinese philosopher? He said,"If when i sleep, i am a man dreaming that i am a butterfly. How do i know when i am awake, i am not a butterfly dreaming that i am a man?"
** The conversation was carried on for the next few minutes before i told him that i have to leave.
Truth can be found with our eyes closed? I wish so.