Vagabond Shoes Are Longing to Stray

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I’m off to New York City in January for an intensive residency with IDSVA (Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts). Last spring we were in Italy, and in the meantime we’ve been force-fed a diet of Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Freud. Someone asked me on Christmas Day: “Does philosophy help you to live your life?” It’s a great question. After all, philosophy, along with art and religion, is the field that asks “What is the meaning of life?” Philosophy has the problem of being an ambiguous science (with its soul-mates art and religion best not making the claim that they are sciences). It’s the one science with no clear boundaries. My answer, though (to cut my story short, which I can see would go on forever!), was that philosophy gives us a means of analysis. It does not as much answer, but asks questions. That sounds uninspiring, but it is not. It gives us a way to clarify problems, to nibble at them. We are naturally seekers; just think what a letdown it often is to buy something, get it home, and realize it was more fun to think about getting it than to actually have it. Asking is more interesting than answering.

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