Near the beginning of my first academic year at university (studying Theology) I took a quiz online called “which philosopher are you?” I took the quiz again today, having finished my first year and due to start my second later this month. A year ago the quiz gave me a score of 92% alike Aristotle, with the summary “Truth does not exist in some transcendental realm. We get to truth by applying reason to the physical world. The world follows logic and common sense.” I got 68% for Kant, 55% for Sartre/Camus (late existentialist), 45% for Nietzsche, 31% late Wittgenstein, 26% early Wittgenstein / Positivist, 24% Plato (strict rationalist).
Today my highest percentage was 84% for Sartre/Camus (late existentialist), 69% for Nietzsche, 51% for early Wittgenstein / Positivists, 47% for Aristotle, 28% for late Wittgenstein, 19% for Plato (strict rationalist) and 19% for Kant, with the summary “The world is absurd. No facts govern it. We live well once we truly accept the world’s absurdity. YOU give your life’s meaning and YOU control your world.”
About halfway through my first year at university I found a quote from Voltaire that rang very true with me: “The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” I came to realise that there was more than I could ever hope to know, that there were far more layers to the things I thought I understood, that assumptions, foundations I had made and worked from could be shaken. I found myself wanting to know more, and indeed knowing more and learning more, but simultaneously knowing less, more mysteries being revealed, more ideas questioned.
At times the past year has been incredibly difficult and challenging. But it has also at times been wonderful. I have a thirst for knowledge and learning – my blog will always be called “Growing Up” regardless of how old I am because we never need stop learning and growing in this life – but I am also beginning to become more accepting and rested in the mystery that is life. There are some things we don’t understand. We can theologise and philosophise and maybe one day we’ll understand more than we do now, but meanwhile let’s try not to argue about things we don’t understand. Let’s try to have a greater dialogue in conversation, and find some peace about out confusion. “The world is absurd… We live well once we truly accept the world’s absurdity.” There are a lot of differences among human beings. But we all want to be understood. I hope we can progress to achieving that longed for understanding and peace, and I hope the Church can too.
What will the next two years of my degree, and my day-to-day experiences, bring I wonder?