Practical Philosophy

La Voz de Galicia – June 21, 2019 →

Cristina PatoAbsent-minded, staring at nothing in particular, I missed my stop. I crossed the platform and took the subway that would take me back to the station I should have gotten off five minutes before. At least I found a seat this time around, so I took it, and there was the advertisement for the New York School of Practical Philosophy. And then I reflected on the beauty of the idea that there would be a school accessible to all members of the public (otherwise, the institution would not advertise on the subway) dedicated to the practice of philosophy. I smiled and realized that an added word would likely alter the meaning of the phrase: practical philosophy would probably not be the same as the practice of philosophy, right?

The fact is that the ad made me think about my mother’s philosophy and about all those old men and women who learned “practical philosophy” through their life stories. I thought about how fortunate I had been to grow up among old and wise women who contributed to my life as much or more than the books saving my life on a daily basis. And I thought about how little we listen to our elderly today.

It is likely that Galicia does not need a school of practical philosophy since our way of being already makes us question everything. But let’s be practical. If Ourense is the province with the most elderly in the country, there must be a way to get something positive out of the most negative aspects of our indices, right?

My reflection today is about our solstice, our own particular social solstice. Imagine that the media stops broadcasting omnipresent global news or amplifying absurdities, and starts giving voice to the generation that, on the brink of disappearing, will take with it everything it knows about the country and its people. We could hope to be, at least, the wisest of all of Europe.

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