About a week ago I watched the film Green Book, a story in which ”a working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South,” and it rekindled my interest in a question that I have pondered for some time.
If you know me personally and have spent some time with me you probably have been preached to about the marvel of the film Crocodile Dundee at some point.
I always get smiles when I mention the film, especially if people only know the name but have never seen it. You are probably smiling right now, or you were when you read the title.
Although many of my teachers said never start an essay with a quote, because it seldom works, here I want to start with one, because the whole discussion I want to have follows from it. This is a quote from John Stuart Mill: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.”1
Many of the conversations I have are extremely enjoyable, illuminating, inspiring, refreshing, and satisfying. However, that is not true for all of them or even most of them. A good conversation is not easy to come by but the experience of many great ones moved me to consider why some are better than others, why is a good conversation almost a luxury.
In one of my first posts, I discussed whether Christianity is bad for progress in society. You can read the essay here. After I wrote the essay I had the chance to discuss the topic with two people. These two conversations begat a thought, for which I give credit primarily to the people involved, a thought which should be mentioned in this discussion.
I have just attended a Christian gathering where I listened to a talk given by a friend of mine. He is a great speaker, he brings energy, passion, humor, to all his talks, he engages the audience, always shares an interesting story, uses great visuals, a great speaker by all means.
Like many book readers, I got into the habit of acquiring more books than I found the time to read. I counted around thirty-five unread books that I either bought, won, or got as a gift resting on my bookshelves. Out of those, twenty seemed worth reading, and as I saw this could quickly get out of hand I promised myself that I will not get any more books until I read the ones I have.
I was shaking. It doesn’t get easier with time. I knew I had to. I promised it to the God of the universe. “When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, because He takes no pleasure in fools. Fulfill your vow,” [Ecclesiastes 5:4] rang in my ears. Standing from behind, diagonally ten meters away from the man, I took a deep breath and made the first step towards the bench he sat on.
This is the fourth part of a twelve-part series, where I will share my summaries of sections (chapters) of David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. I would be making these summaries for myself regardless, however, I realized they might come in useful to some philosophy undergrads who are late with their assignment. These are very short summaries based on how much of space was available in my notebook with two pages dedicated to each section. Hume’s special vocabulary for certain sections took up a great deal of space and thus the summaries had to be shortened. Regardless, I hope you will find some of Hume’s thoughts interesting and maybe you will pick up the book yourself.
Every human is a deep well of unused potential, a potential that has the power to transform the course of our shared future. The world thirsts for the waters stored in each individual. The world longs for the hidden talents and gifts stunted crowds have to offer and I feel the need to howl, to cry out, to awaken, to empower the crowds to do so, to seize all that is possible.