Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Much ado about The Smiths

While I might deliver my dissertation on the Smiths posted above another day (or how they should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year), we did talk a little this morning about Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s children, Willow and Jaden, and an interview they recently gave to T Magazine, wherein they discuss several topics that sound a little like they might enjoy our course.

These two quotes struck me. For starters, this metaphysical riddle sounds familiar:

…this is a fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.

As well as this perspective on the mind and consciousness:

Because your mind has a duality to it. So when one thought goes into your mind, it’s not just one thought, it has to bounce off both hemispheres of the brain. When you’re thinking about something happy, you’re thinking about something sad. When you think about an apple, you also think about the opposite of an apple. It’s a tool for understanding mathematics and things with two separate realities. But for creativity: That comes from a place of oneness. That’s not a duality consciousness.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one to take note of the sheer exuberance of what the interview contained, or wondered about the caveat offered following the piece:

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Hazlitt humourously wondered what might have been edited out of such an interview, and presented a fictionalized run down of what may have been cut:

What would it be like if human beings showed no outward signs of pain? If we didn’t groan or grimace, et cetera? Then it would be impossible to teach a child the use of the word “toothache.” Well, let’s assume the child is a genius and itself invents a name for the sensation! But then, of course, he couldn’t make himself understood when he used the word. So does he understand the name, without being able to explain its meaning to anyone? But what does it mean to say that he has “named his pain”? How has he done this naming of pain? In giving a name to his sensation one forgets that a great deal of stage-setting in the language is presupposed if the mere act of naming is to make sense. And when we speak of someone having given a name to pain, what is presupposed is the existence of the grammar of the word “pain;” it shows the post where the new word is stationed.

Now, as humourous as we might find these adolescent philosophers’ ideas, my question this morning was about whether or not we should. If Jaden and Willow were in our philosophy class, for instance, would we (or you, if you did upon reading the interview) be laughing at them? Or would they be leading our discussions down all kinds of interesting paths.

As someone mentioned this morning, might such minds be the Philosopher Kings who have made it out of Plato’s proverbial cave? By mocking them, are we not those still in chains poking fun at the enlightened?

McSweeney’s takes this notion a little further, asking if its readers can distinguish between quotes from the Smith children and notable eccentric genius William Blake.  After all, is

In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.

so much different than

When you think about an apple, you also think about the opposite of an apple?


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