"XXXXXXXXX XXXX wrote: " As for criticism of Darwin: You attack Darwin, you also attack Nietzsche. So read your Nietzsche before you think you have a relevant and solid case against Darwin. Nietzsche is the Darwin philosopher."
As you may guess, I am one of the masses. I spent the day (7am to 3pm) working in a light industrial environment, wrapping folded papers into bundles (did 100,000 today, 111,000 yesterday - the machine broke down today for a while). Lots of repetitive movements, driven, in terms of rate, by a machine that is mindlessly relentless.
The movements are not very complicated, which does allow for part of my mind to disengage and wander about for a while.
Given your statement above, I got to thinking about what was a "philosopher" in the present (post-post-modern?) time. Some ideas:
A paleontologist of the history of thought; an ecologist of memes; someone with too much time on their hands; an obsessive-compulsive with a lot of paper and pencils; a seeker of truth (good grief, where did that one come from) and so on.
I did wonder what purpose, in today's world, we could say a "philosopher" fills. I am distinguishing between a scholar of philosophy, and the guy/gal whose original thought is somewhat staggering, as regards us more ordinary folk. I wondered if a philosopher is someone who seeks the truth, or whether, in our more modern times, a philosopher has become someone whose ego urges him/her to put forward their "individual" paradigm as something everyone else ought to think.
Then there is "continental" philosophy. Lots of books, long complicated books.
It has probably gone unnoticed, but in America, since WWII, all the brilliant minds that would usually become philosophers, became instead cartoonists. Think about it.
Bugs Bunny is a major proto-anarchist; his one fault being that he was created in a corporate environment, and never quite allowed to apply his perfect "attitude" to social commentary. Still, "What's up doc." has to have historical philosophical significance.
Walt Kelly's Pogo, was a valiant effort, but really only a precursor. All the same, "we have met the enemy and he is us" is so wonderfully intuitive of modern politics, one has to bow their head. The awards and honorable mentions follow:
In the Zen-minimalist category, as runner up, we have Bill Gaines and Bill Elder's remarkable creation in Mad Magazine in the l950's, namely Alfred E. Neuman, and his pithy expression of the '50's ambience "What, me worry?"
The winner here, however, is another Bill, namely Bill Griffith, whose creation Zippy, the Pinhead, gave us that remarkable expression of the zeitgeist: "Are we having fun yet?" This last has become ubiquitous in the work place in America, although few know of its origin. I wouldn't be surprised if this phrase has become world-wide in its use.
In the more profound category, we have a number of attempts. Bill Breathed's Bloom County, Gary Trudeux's Doonsbury, and the anti-feminist Cathy, by Cathy Guisewite.
But runner up honors have to go to Dilbert, by Scott Adams, which has captured, gutted and filleted the corporate culture, which so dominates modern life.
Yet, all these pale in comparison to one voice, that of Bill Watterson, and his creation, Calvin and Hobbes. No one has taken hold of the human condition in quite the same fashion. Watterson has retired now, which shows another remarkable quality, quit when you've said what you came to say.
For those who don't know this "toon", Calvin is a little boy, perhaps 6 or 7. Hobbes is a tiger. When Calvin's parents are around, Hobbes is drawn as an inanimate stuffed toy, about a third the size of Calvin. When Calvin and Hobbes are alone, together, Hobbes is easily twice as tall as Calvin, walks upright and talks.
Here is a four panel (daily), with Calvin and Hobbes walking outside in the winter. Calvin: Nothing I do is my fault. My family is dysfunctional and my parents won't empower me! Consequently, I'm not self actualized! My behavior is addictive functioning in a disease process of toxic codependency! I need holistic healing and wellness before I'll accept any responsibility for my actions! Hobbes: One of us needs to stick his head in a bucket of ice water. Calvin: I love the culture of victimhood.
Or this one, another four panel: Calvin: I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning and inhibit clarity. With a little practice writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog! Want to see my book report?
Hobbes (reading the report): "The dynamics of interbeing and monological imperatives in Dick and Jane: A study in psychic transrelational gender modes." Calvin: Academia, here I come!
So it goes, as Kurt V. says.
I have not forgotten Jules Fieffer, but he was too "affected". Nor should we give too many kudos to Robert Crumb, and his Mr. Natural. Crumb is too dark, and to self involved, thus really lacking a vision of the universal which a real philosophic "toon" needs.
I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere some anarchist teaching assistant is actually putting together a philosophy or sociology course, featuring Calvin and Hobbes.
As to Neitzche and Darwin ... "
the rest of the e-mail wasn't worth that much in any event