© 2017 James Justin Sledge

Theory of Pedagogy

Philosophy is a project of human liberation.  We stand as the solitary hitherto known  consciousness amongst a vast starry void and this rock is, for the time being, our only sanctuary in the mocking nuclear chaos.  Our foundational tool for beating back the cold vacuum is the quest for wisdom, begotten by awe.  Philosophy is a core tool for that ultimate liberation.  Yet, philosophers neither can nor should liberate others.  We must inculcate awe, forge relationships of investigation, and include others in this bewildering conversation started long before us.  The task of the philosopher is to grasp that my chains are only released by another with the questions we ask together.   

 

Philosophy is no amateur hobby nor should it be performed by academics alone.  The philosopher has the dual responsibility to acquire wisdom no matter how arcane and do the difficult work to make that vitally important wisdom accessible to all who seek it.  The philosopher cannot dwell in a remote forest, comfortable tenure, or moldering library forever.  I strive to take the works of titanic genius and share them in the classroom, in the study group, and at the pub.  I strive for that genius myself, no matter how short I may fall.

 

Philosophy must be inclusive, diverse, and violent.  It is a human project and that so many have been excluded from it is a scar of shame.  The philosopher must struggle against the petty, decadent, and temporal forces which render it the boring and irrelevant purview of the privileged elite.  Philosophy must not only change the world rather than interpret it, it must also change itself.  Philosophers who do not struggle against the oppressions of our epoch are complicit in them.  These diabolic vampires must be shown the light. 

 

Philosophy is violence against dogma, the decadence of cynical boredom, the slavishness of obscurantism, the nonsense of faddish mysticism, and pitiful scholastic irrelevance.  Each generation must renew a fight that seeks to smash what came before in tears of joy and hope.  Philosophers must inherit and deeply appreciate the architecture of the wisdom of the past and be utterly unafraid to reduce it to ruins.  We must preserve, demolish, renovate, and build anew.  Our work must be subject to the same process.  

 

The philosopher begins and ends with the question.  We must chase answers like the doomed after a cure - we must affirm that we believe using the totality of human reason, hope, and wisdom but we must remain humble to admit that may not know.  We must struggle against the delusions of some absolute truth and the despair of utter ignorance.  We must strive after totality and become drunk, but only from time to time, with the absolute.  We must accept that we awake often in ignorance with meekness. 

 

Battering against the infinite twilight of the human, we desire wisdom in desperate, energetic, and joyful awe.  We must desire and love wisdom with the passion of the one-night stand, the singularity of marriage, and in rhizomatic polyamory.  Philosophy is the love of wisdom and I am in love.  In love with the love that seeks but can never have, in love with wisdom that is what it will be.

 

If I am a philosopher this is what I hope to do and aid others in doing.  I hope you might be interested in joining me.