Seeking new friends in social networks

I personally feel that the more friends we add, the more we have to gain, since we are eavesdropping so to speak on the thoughts and opinions of many diverse people around the nation, around the world, with gifts differing (as Paul said). How dreary to feel xenophobic, and think oneself “a very private person” and limit oneself to family and friends of childhood’s acquaintance. It seems to me that you know them well enough, and you should be interacting with them face to face, or via telephone, and not in this particular medium of social networking. Occasionally I meditate upon the several curious times in Plato’s dialogues where Socrates asserts that misanthropy (the contempt for our fellow beings) is closely connected with misology (a contempt for discourse). And this makes a great deal of sense, since if you detest the bulk of your fellow beings, the with whom, pray tell, will you converse. And if you do not regularly engage in the exercise of extemporaneous dialog, then however shall you exercise your mental faculties and be stimulated with new and perhaps innovative ideas (or at the very least, ideas new to thee, Miranda dear.)


When I was a senior in high school, I needed to collect an enormous number of baby food jars for our biology class, where we did a LOT of dissection and handed in the organs for grading. A young mother of three children would generously supply me with the jars twice a week. I was very conscious of the fact that she was STARVED for adult intellectual stimulation. She was glad that I stayed with her and chatted for an hour or two about high school topics. I was alway a rather unusual child and adolescent. I would discourse much in the same manner as you see me post day to day. I preferred the company of adults, and especially teachers over children. My graduating high school class, unbeknownst to me, decided that I should be Class Philosopher, and informed me that I should come to have my photo taken. At the time I thought it was something of a lark on their point. Only later in life did it dawn upon me that I really was quite different and quite obsessed with philosophy. I still occasionally call my biology teacher, now long retired, and I mentioned this to him, and he said “Oh yes, you were the most philosophical of any class.” And it was that teacher, Edward Karoll who went out of his way to make me aware of SJC. Without his encouragement I would never have attended.


We so often hear “use it or lose it” and though that is not always in reference to the intellect, it is certainly true that our minds need exercise. I know one fellow in his 80s who retired, and made it a point to do crossword puzzles each day, in the belief that such exercise wards off cognitive deterioration. I have had the Internet each day since 1998 as a medium for expression, and I dare say my writing style benefited from this constant exercise. I keep meaning to track down and read an essay that Sartre wrote on “why we write.”


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