Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Katie Crompton – Philosophy is a Garden

When asked to create a metaphor for philosophy, I immediately thought of philosophy as a garden. I know it’s super cheesy but bare with me. It works.

*Please note that each of these points relates to a slide on a Keynote that I don’t really need to post because it’s really just pretty pictures and lettering but I don’t have the ability to anyway, but I digress*

Soil: The soil is the starting point to a garden. In this instance I was the soil at the beginning of this course. I knew absolutely nothing about Philosophy or what this course would entail. If we relate this to Plato’s Cave, then the people stuck in the cave would be the soil. They are unenlightened. Everyone starts out as soil because everyone has some level of ignorance. But soil holds crucial nutrients that enable the garden to thrive so others may say that soil is a base of knowledge just waiting to be given the chance to be used and shown off.

Planting the Seeds: Planting the seeds is that initial spark or piece of knowledge that really starts your journey into discovering your philosophical identity and learning to have a love for wisdom. If that seed isn’t planted, you don’t get a plant, so some may say that if you never get that spark, you’ll never truly know where you stand philosophically and you’ll never be enlightened.

Roots: Once the seed begins to grow, roots spread out to soak up the nutrients in the soil. Roots relate to philosophy because if you have wisdom, you need to be able to obtain knowledge from numerous different places in numerous different areas. Roots also offer stability, so the more knowledge you gain, the more confidence you have in your beliefs.

Rain: Rain acts as dissent. Rain can be both beneficial and damaging depending on the species of plant as can dissent depending, depending on the people giving and receiving it. With some species, rain helps a plant thrive but with others, it damages it and tears it down. Sometimes, a differing opinion will help you understand things clearer and make you more confident. Other times, it can be toxic and make you doubt your own opinions and lose confidence in your beliefs.

Bees: Bees are extremely important. They pollinate which makes flowers blossom and stay alive. When you share your ideas and beliefs, whether it be on social media, a piece of writing, or just having a conversation, you are being a bee and pollinating. You are keeping your opinions alive by sharing them with the world.

Flowers vs. Fruit and Vegetables: Flowers, and fruits and vegetables represent two different kinds of ideas. Fruits and vegetables are ideas that have a clear application and can easily be used, just like how fruits and vegetables are meant to be eaten. Flowers on the other hand are very pretty, but they don’t really have a clear application or purpose other than smelling nice and sitting in a vase. Some may say that flower ideas are useless. But sometimes, flowers turn into fruit with time and effort, so ideas that may initially seem useless may eventually have an application.

Community Gardens: There is a large variety of plants in a community garden. Some species are put together, some purposefully split apart. It relates to philosophical discussion in the way that there are a lot of differing opinions and ideas that are all intermingled in a safe and free environment. It is this richness in variety that creates something beautiful.

And that’s my metaphor! Hopefully the cheese wasn’t too much




Philosophy = Couch

In the very complicated equation that is my title, it states that philosophy is a couch.
Now you may not think these two ideas relate, but they do, and here is how:

  1. “Live Life Comfortably” – Lazyboy
    When couch-shopping, people often think of comfort as the number one condition their couch will need to have. We affiliate this cushioned chair as a place of rest or to feel relaxed. This is much like how humans want to feel when socializing. Philosophy is based on the principles of conversation and sharing ideas. If we do not feel comfortable to vocalize our opinions, then philosophy loses its meaning and appreciation.
    Lazyboy sums up the goals of philosophy pretty well – we should go through life seeking comfort. That can mean broadening our comfort zones and exploring new places while being free from judgement or discrimination.
  2. Personality
    Most couches are situated in a living room. And each couch is chosen to enhance or bring something intriguing to the space, but every one of us has a different style. Some will prefer the leather look while others will appreciate a more retro sofa. Each Philosopher in us has our own taste of philosophy. We could be really interested in space exploration or imagining the unseen. A great thing about philosophy is that we all look at it differently, a great example is  this project. With our own style comes a unique perspective into the equation that can enrich conversations and ideas.
  3. Function
    The cool thing about couches is how functional they actually are. We spend copious amounts of time using them to rest, relax, or entertain guests. They fill up space in a room and (hopefully) look pretty. The cool thing about philosophy is we all use it for a different purpose. Whether you are dying to discover the meaning of life or just trying to open up your mind to potential, we call this way of thinking “philosophy”. Its important to recognize that while your life’s work could be asking questions, my dream may be to think of the next best seller.


Philosophy is a couch because we need it to have comfort ability, personality, and function. Purpose and meaning give worth to the things we want to understand. With the diversity of both couches and philosophy, we as people are able to appreciate the opportunity of imagination.

You can philosophize the world right from your couch.







What Makes a Hero? | An introduction to the work of Joseph Campbell

From Wikipedia, here is an introduction beyond the components of the Monomyth presented in the video:

As a strong believer in the psychic unity of mankind and its poetic expression through mythology, Campbell made use of the concept to express the idea that the whole of the human race can be seen as engaged in the effort of making the world “transparent to transcendence” by showing that underneath the world of phenomena lies an eternal source which is constantly pouring its energies into this world of time, suffering, and ultimately death. To achieve this task one needs to speak about things that existed before and beyond words, a seemingly impossible task, the solution which lies in the metaphors found in myths. These were statements that pointed beyond themselves into the transcendent. The Hero’s Journey was that story of the man or woman who, through great suffering, reached an experience of the eternal source and returned with gifts powerful enough to set their society free. As this story spread through space and evolved through time, it was broken down into various local forms (masks), depending on the social structures and environmental pressures that existed for the culture that interpreted it. The basic structure, however, has remained relatively unchanged and can be classified using the various stages of a hero’s adventure through it, stages such as the Call to Adventure, Receiving Supernatural Aid, Meeting with the Goddess/Atonement with the Father and Return. These stages, as well as the symbols one encounters throughout the story, provide the necessary metaphors to express the spiritual truths the story is trying to convey.

I think there is an interesting overlapping with our recent reading about Nietzsche’s notion of Self-Styling, explained here by Cameron Afzal

Self-styling compliments a naturalistic outlook, it doesn’t destroy it. Art will not replace religion, but it can provide partial cures for the nausea we are exposed to in a world of honesty and nihilism. While it may seem to be opposed to naturalism, self-styling is indeed the most pragmatic way to balance aesthetic satisfaction and naturalistic affirmation without compromising a scientific perspective by purporting to represent the self and the world as they exists, only as we might imagine them to be. 

What do you think Nietzsche would make of Campbell’s Monomyth? Or Campbell of the idea of “self-styling”? Are these two sides of the same coin, so to speak?