Sunday Philosophical Tea Party
NOBODY EXPECTS THE PHILOSOPHICAL TEA PARTY!
You know those Inquisitions Old Skepchick hosts every afternoon where they ask a question and have you answer? This is kind of like that except it’s a Philosophical Tea Party and it is held on Sundays. Depending on how this goes it will either stay only on Sundays, or we might do it more often… or maybe more spontaneously. But that’s for the future.
For now all you need to know is there will be philosophy, and tea, and partying, and it will be at a location of the author’s choice whether it be a pirate ship, a castle, or in a redwood tree.
Today I’ve chosen to have it take place in a backyard garden in Norway probably in the springtime with flowers blossoming and squirrels with pancakes on their heads running about madly trying to avoid being speared by invisible dinosaurs (the locations won’t always be that elaborate).
Since today is the first Philosophical Tea Party I’m not the only one asking questions. I’ve consulted with my fellow Teen Skepchicks and gotten two others to contribute questions so here they are. Sit back, have a cup of tea, and start thinking.
I have a question which comes from personal experience. I was raised Catholic and went to CCD all throughout grammar and middle school. In eighth grade, we were informed that we were going to start confirmation classes. I told my mom that I didn’t want to make my confirmation because I didn’t really believe in Catholicism (at this time I wasn’t yet an atheist, but I knew I wasn’t Catholic). She said that she still wanted me to take the confirmation classes, and then decide after I finished. I had no problem with this, so I went to the classes, and after finishing I still did not want to be confirmed. I could tell my mom didn’t have a big problem with this herself, but I think she was worried about how my grandmother would feel. I wasn’t really concerned with what my grandmother thought about it at the time, but looking back on it I’m wondering if I should have been. So my question is, if a family member believes very strongly in the importance of a given religious tradition, and would be very upset if you didn’t participate in it, should you just go along with it even if you don’t believe?
There are two traditional categories for separating students: the science and math kids, and the humanities (English, history) kids. I do not feel like I fall into either of these categories because both interest me for different reasons. I am pretty good at calculus and writing essays. Do you feel like you fall into one category or the other? Why? Is this a false dichotomy?
And Elles (me):
I often find myself slightly irked by the shallowness of many of my fellow students. It’s not that I never participate in shallow, meaningless discussions that have no intellectual foundation whatsoever (there’s nothing wrong with delving into shallowness every so often), but I can’t go very long without trying to get into a philosophical discussion. It could be my bias, but it seems like those around me rarely think a thought more profound than the varnish on a globe. They think I’m weird when I get excited by science, and I think they’re weird for hating learning of any kind that doesn’t involve finding out which celebrity is going out with which other celebrity. I sort of worry if this is problematic because they are missing so much beauty in the universe that comes from intellectual thought, and also because they seem unwilling to think when called upon as citizens to make decisions about important stuff. Should I encourage teenagers to think intellectually more often or should I leave them to their interests, however shallow I may find them?
Have fun, and have at it.