I am listening to a philosophe


Bird Droppings February 10, 2022
I am listening to a philosopher.

A beautiful sky this morning as I walked out; the weather is wreaking havoc with my sinus, cold hot colder. On the one hand, I can count the number of mornings with frost this year. The sky, while partially filled with clouds, was nearly vacant. The clouds presented a surreal picture for me as I walked around until I was too cold. I was reading in National Geographic an article on possible life somewhere out in the universe and all of the possibilities that continue to pop up. It has not been long since I fancied myself a philosopher of sorts. Perhaps it was my graduate work that got me genuinely entrenched in philosophical meandering and led to this conclusion or trying a million times to formulate a philosophy of teaching while it evolved before me. I think it is because I enjoy pondering too much, and I wonder and think about all around me as I journey through life.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“How people keep correcting us when we are young! There is always some bad habit or other they tell us we ought to get over. Yet most bad habits are tools to help us through life.” Friedrich Nietzsche

As I looked for a starting place for my daily journal, I was interrupted again to get back to my writing. As I went up and down the stairs and walked out into a sky as wonderful as it was this morning, I recalled a period in my life when I would get up every morning early and walk several miles discussing philosophy, theology, and other relevant issues with a good friend of mine. It was an interesting time, and actually, many concepts that I hold now came to fruition during those walks. Over the years, as I look back, and indeed most things considered that I consider “bad habits” I had given up in the days past; however, they do provide tools for pondering ideas further and pushing thoughts beyond where they were. I have found, however many people get mired in that bad habit or two, and it becomes part of their life, not merely a stepping stone or tool but a crutch and support. Perhaps even a cast of sorts locking them into that point in time.

“Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.” C. Everett Koop

Most folks won’t even recognize Dr. Koop’s former Surgeon General of the United States and former head of pediatric surgery at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. As I thought of Nietzsche’s quotes, while not taking a walk today, I did go and sit outside for some time, drinking my tea and watching birds. I started writing a bit later today than I thought I would. As you read his work, Nietzsche is often self-focused and negative and perhaps in some ways, I like looking to his thoughts for contrast for adding a backdrop to a brighter reflection. Somewhere I started writing about Dr. Koop.


Dr. C. Everett Koop was instrumental in the anti-cigarette laws and anti-tobacco laws. On a personal note, he was the surgeon for my younger brother many years ago when we lived in Pennsylvania. My father used to tell the story of Dr. Koop. His staff and my father gathered around John, my brother born with cerebral palsy and later developed encephalitis and was approaching surgery. Dad would say, having been in the Navy medical corps. and around death in WWII, so much of the aura around Koop was different; he exuded life, thrived on life, and when he asked all to join hands and pray around John, he made my father’s day.


But one thing that has stuck with me from dad’s conversation with Dr. Koop was a quote very seldom seen, “Having worked with terminally ill children and seriously ill children for many years in all of those years, I have never seen a parent of one of these children who was an atheist.” As I think back and remember bits and pieces, Dr. Koop’s comment and discussions with my father, he wasn’t referring to religion as much as to faith. Faith also parallels trust, and it was in that trust in Dr. Koop and or trust in the hospital that parents would have faith and hope. Dr. Koop was a man of hope, future, and faith.

“Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not in hand.” Saint Thomas Aquinas

“Our faith comes in moments… yet there is a depth in those brief moments which constrains us to ascribe more reality to them than to all other experiences.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am ending with a simple idea for another day or several ideas to ponder and mull over as we ascend the plateau to view the vista. We have almost finished this week, and I am looking forward to the days ahead; my friends, have a glorious day today, build for tomorrow and keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your thoughts Namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

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