I’ve noticed an interesting trend in several of the philosophical texts that I’ve been reading lately.
There is the assumption that “we”, the philosophers, are somehow separate from the man in the street, or the masses.
By philosophers this I mean anyone who contemplates a philosophy of life, which most definitely will include anyone reading this, because if you somehow stumbled on the path of reading this article, you’re clearly thinking about life and philosophy.
I’ll pick out just one example out of many, and that is from Seneca’s On Shortness of Life:
Nor is it just the man in the street and the unthinking mass of people who groan over this – as they see it – universal evil: the same feeling lies behind complaints from even distinguished men.
The funny thing is that the masses don’t believe they are different to us, because they cannot see the difference between us and them, because in outward appearance and actions we may appear similar, while in fact we may as well be two completely separate biological species.
The masses consume and don’t ask questions, while we do the exact opposite, we create questions, we challenge the traditional ways, and we look to lead a better life, and not one that has greater material wealth than before, but one that has more freedom from desires, consumerism, anger, and negative emotions. A serene, peaceful existence.
A serene, peaceful existence.