By Mark Vernon
Mark Vernon takes his idea from forty two of the funniest, wisest, and quirkiest quotations in regards to the sizeable questions in existence, and makes use of those as beginning issues for his terrific observations. In each one bankruptcy he explains what the best thinkers of all time have needed to say on topics reminiscent of everlasting existence, paintings, love and intercourse, and the character of happiness; he attracts his personal conclusions, and may galvanize you to imagine deeply your self!
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Additional resources for 42: Deep Thought on Life
Instead, here is a parable. A friend of mine is a bachelor boy, the sort who never cooks and rarely eats at home. His kitchen is empty, save for a few plates and a microwave oven. Having plenty of money, he doesn’t just grab a sandwich on the way to work or fish’n’chips on the way home. He eats very well; in fancy coffee bars in the morning, pleasant diners at lunchtime and smart restaurants by night. One day, as a result of an unusual away-day, concocted by his senior manager to nurture thinking ‘out of the box’, he found himself in a monastery.
The distinction is the difference between pigignorance and wise ignorance. Pig-ignorance is the blindness of the crazed, deluded or wilfully stubborn. Their stupidity may sustain a happiness of sorts but it is a shallow and unstable happiness, often turning into the things the Enlightenment optimists so rightly loathed – injustice, prejudice, false belief and their like. Wise ignorance is a quality of a completely different sort. qxp 11/14/2007 12:26 PM 14 Page 14 42: Deep Thought on Life Socrates, who realised that the key to wisdom is to understand the limits of what you know.
He was wrong. Though they lay wrapped in the same cloak all night, Socrates declined his advances. He loved Alcibiades but wanted to share the gold of intellectual passion with him, not the bronze of his tumescent sexuality. Note that Socrates does not say that it would wrong for them to make love – as the Christian moralist might because of the homosexual element or as the secular ethicist might because of their pedagogical relationship. Rather, he says that it would not be the best thing for them to do.