You Are Not Alone
We all have questions. Some are little. Some are big ones that we only ask ourselves when our minds wander. These questions keep us awake, keep us wondering. A philosophy class in high school gives teenagers an opportunity to share thoughts and questions and even answers. We notice things about ourselves that we hadn’t yet noticed, see what we connect to, see how we think. We see that we aren’t alone.
Everyone goes through times in their lives where we believe that we are truly alone. We believe that there could be no one who understands how we see the world. Some, during these times, see it as a very dark and harsh world to live in. It’s in these times when we are alone that we start thinking differently. We think about the ‘what ifs’, the ‘what would be different’ and the ‘why.’ Our level of thinking changes to a deeper level when we feel so isolated.Yet we are social creatures; not able to handle being completely isolated.
In the article Talk With Me written by Nigel Warburton, he writes:
Machiavelli, meanwhile, was indeed exiled, cut off from the intrigues of court life, a city dweller forced into a bucolic existence against his will. But in a letter to his friend Francesco Vettori of 10 December 1513, he described how he spent his evenings: he would retire to his study and conjure up the great ancient thinkers and hold imaginary conversations with them about how best to govern. These imaginary conversations were the raw material for The Prince. Descartes might have locked himself away to write, and avoided distractions by doing most of his work lying in bed, but when he came to publish his Meditations it was with a number of critical comments from other philosophers, including Thomas Hobbes, together with his responses to their criticisms. Likewise, Rousseau loved solitude, but he included dialogues within his writing, and even wrote the bizarre book Rousseau Judge of Jean-Jacques (1776) in which he presented two versions of himself debating with each other.
All of these great philosophers believed that they were able to isolate themselves and think of great things. However, in their writings, they still had characters, human beings that they could share their ideas with. Everyone needs someone to talk to, it’s as simple as that.
In high school, teenagers are growing, changing and thinking. It’s during this time, this challenging, scary time, that most people struggle. We are thinking about this strange world we will soon be stepping in to. We have questions, and fears. We need someone to be here with us.
A philosophy class in high school is a gift. We can talk with others who think like us, who let us know that we aren’t alone. We can ask our questions about the world together and face our fears about this world us students will soon be entering. The most important is that it is a place where we can talk. Everyone needs someone to talk to.
That is the basics of philosophy. Philosophy is having a conversation with people, bouncing ideas off one another. That is the basics of how we as humans function. We talk to people about something we did, coming up with more ideas based off that that will lead us to other decisions and events. We talk to people about how we feel and why. Philosophy is taking it beyond a simple conversation. It’s taking it to a place of thinking where we see who thinks like us, who sees the world like us.