Philosophy as Toy Cogs
To me philosophy is the gathering of ideas, and assembling them in different ways to create interesting truths. So when coming up with my analogy I recalled a toy I used to have as a kid. It was a set of fridge magnets, a bunch of brightly coloured cogs. My brother and I would try and get them to turn after assembling them in different patterns. We realized in certain configurations however, they would get stuck and the entire thing would twitch as it struggled to turn.
So I saw ideas as each individual cog. In philosophy, you put them together in different ways and play with it to form something interesting. If you have a lot of ideas, what comes out of it can be complex and satisfying, much like making a complex web of cogs. But what I liked most about the idea of this analogy was that you couldn’t just throw cogs around all willy nilly, if you didn’t connect them properly or made a faulty circuit it wouldn’t work. Rather like ideas in real life.
But fridge cogs don’t really do anything on their own, no matter how complex. Maybe you get a sense of satisfaction from getting the entire thing moving in an interesting pattern, but that’s about it. With ideas its the same thing, since they’re really just thought. But what if you sized up the cogs and got them to power a grandfather clock? A wind up toy? Or a giant death machine? Anyway, I figured philosophy is the same thing. A set of ideas can’t do anything as long as they only exist as themselves. But if you put them into action, you have the potential to make a giant death machine.