Thursday, June 30, 2005

People and Ignorance

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.

Joyce: Yes

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.


enn@j said...

LOL ;)

I enjoyed your conversations with strangers

Anonymous said...

well, what can i say, weird ppl will always bump into their kind.



perr said...

he sounds like he doesn't really know what he's talking about; like he loves listening to himself, and that when he listens to himself, he thinks he sounds impressive/cool.
I'm sorry, I just don't 'dig' people like that. My uncle is very much like him, who's all over the place belief wise, thinking that he's so smart because he THINKS he is, when his mind is as closed and shallow as an airhead.
It may seem that I am very opinionated, but I've just had enough of those people (because they exist in large numbers in my school too). :/.

Anonymous said...

my my, i am afraid, perr's judgement is true on many many christians. we act as if we heck know, but oh, how shallow our minds were actually. sad sad. oh, christians, if only by our eyes closed we can know the truth.

mary suzie said...

Pardon me, but am I silly to wanting to introduce this weird encounter of yours to read Calvin and Hobbes for a start? :)

Great philosophy, and most of all- a comic that mirrors Man's ego. Gets me every time...

But you would need to accompany him in these reading sessions. Subtlely written philosophy is not very friendly to people who want to see truth with their eyes closed. :)

Sze Zeng said...

Joanne: Thanks, i too, enjoyed conversations.

Jack: yea, i think so... weird ppl always bump into weird ppl..

Perr: True... he didnt really listen to me. He jus wan me to know about his thoughts and his views. Can see that he doesnt really care of other's opinion... kinda arrogant.

anonymous: yesterday during dinner, a woman who sat opposite me, complaint about her boss who being a Christian and yet scold vulgarity. This is not the first time i heard Christians being complaint at, and i don suppose this will be the last time... sigh...

mary suzie: hahaha..foolsophy?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we can reach out to a cynical and complacent generation with the humor and irony of Soren Kierkegaard