Philosophical Movie Pick: Man on Wire

Man on Wire (2008) is the story of Philippe Petit’s quest to walk a high wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center, a plan that he conceived of before the towers were built. Directed by James Marsh, based on the book by Phillipe Petit. The film is available to stream on Netflix.

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Here are just some questions you might ask yourself while watching the film:

  • What is the purpose of art? Does it exist for its own sake? What kinds of sacrifices should an artist be willing to make for art? What kinds of risks should an artist be willing to take?  Does the world need people who will flaunt the rules and taunt authorites?
  • How far should we go in pursuing a passion? Should we do things with no other reason than that we want to? What are the consequences for others?
  • Are adventures better when we are experiencing them or when we are reliving them? Why?

If you have seen the film, what questions did it raise for you? Let us know in comments!

So Many Questions!

On Wednesday, January 18, Grey Havens Group held its first Think & Drink event at Wibby Brewing in Longmont, Colorado as part of our Philosophy in Public Spaces Initiative. Wibby Brewing is a hopping place (pun intended). On this evening, the small, dog-friendly brewery was packed with canines and their human companions. There was even a shuffleboard league competing inches away from our tables but the conversations that took place in our small discussion groups were thoughtful and deep. Philosophy can happen anywhere!

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Thinking in progress!

This is how our philosophy discussions work: We begin with a theme and a text (or texts) related to that theme, whether the text is from a novel, a movie, TV show, or a work of visual art such as a photograph, painting, or sculpture. This time, our theme was “Decisions, Resolutions, Change,” and we shared readings from The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring and from the British sci-fi serial Doctor Who. We then asked our gathered thinkers to write down questions that came up for them in response to the texts, focusing on what they consider to be the “big questions.” Here are some of the questions they shared:

  • Is choice (or free will) an illusion?
  • Are there any decisions that we make that affect no one but ourselves or do all our decisions affect others?
  • To decide is to cut off options. Is this always true?
  • What decisions would you make differently after seeing the results of your choices?
  • Who will I meet on the road ahead?
  • Am I brave or foolish?
  • Do we all have something “Tookish” inside us? (“Tookish” is an adjective from The Hobbit that suggests unconventionality and a sense of adventure.)
  • Can you think out all the ripples [that come from a decision] or should you just get on with it?
  • At what point do we battle with ourselves and hesitate in our quest to move forward?
  • What causes fear and doubt? What instills trust?
  • Is it courage if there is really no other choice?

We will discuss these questions and others again and again because we believe that we should never stop questioning. You can join in by attending our February Think & Drink at The Dickens Tavern in Longmont. This time, we will gather in a quiet room to sip our drinks and think together. The format will be a large group discussion. Different formats, different places, different faces, different topics, one big idea—philosophy is for everyone!

Contact us if you are interested in bringing philosophical inquiry to your organization or community group along the Front Range. Follow our Facebook page for more philosophical events. We look forward to thinking with you!

What Is Geek Philosophy? Part 3: Wholeness

After our last post on the principle of Slow Reading-Close Reading, we promised you a post on the Geek Philosophy principle of Wholeness. It turned out that it was easier to promise the post than produce it. Wholeness is a principle that, as you might have guessed, encompasses all our other principles. It is also the hardest to explain.
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There are two kinds of wholes. One is the collection, like a basket full of stuff. It’s an artificial whole that someone put together. If you want to really know what is in the basket, you have to take the collection apart and examine each piece. The other kind of whole is an organic whole or unity, a whole that just came that way, like a tree or a person. You can try to understand a tree or person by examining their parts but you won’t really understand them unless you see them as the wholes they are.

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