Some things are not designed for the fast pace of modern life. For example, three-hour baseball games. Also, philosophy.
I realized the first fact a few years back during an extra-inning game when I found myself rooting for whichever team could get the game over soonest.
I realized the second fact earlier this week after being asked by my daughter to help interpret two English-language sentences for a native Spanish-speaking student she knows in Mexico City.
I should mention these sentences were originally written by a philosopher. I once got a minor in philosophy.
I’m not going to repeat the full two sentences here because:
1. You would flip immediately to the Area Crime Reports page.
2. I would not blame you.
3. They were about man or something. Possibly also other men. And existence.
4. I think.
So that went well.
My point is, these are hard days for philosophers. Compared to most writers, their sentences are unnecessarily long and painfully drawn out, similar to many innings in baseball.
Plus, it can take forever to figure out what philosophers are trying to say. Or in this case, 12 minutes per sentence. That’s assuming you speak English and minored in philosophy. Even then, you are probably wrong.
I’m going to be honest with you: the 12 minutes I spent on each sentence didn’t even include the parenthetical phrases, which I skipped altogether. Of course, they probably revealed the meaning of life, and I completely missed it and have now steered this Mexican student in the wrong direction. What have I done?
At least sports are trying to adapt to keep us interested. Major League Baseball, for example, is toying with adding a pitch clock to limit pitchers to just 20 seconds between pitches.
And that’s a start. Although personally, I think baseball would get a whole lot more exciting if they cut the time between pitches down to just five seconds.
Just visualize that for a minute.
Besides getting games over faster, pitchers would have a new skill to develop and statisticians would have new statistics to track. Teams could then promote star pitchers who not only throw the fastest pitches, but who pitch the fastest.
Plus, you can almost guarantee an authentic Three Stooges-type moment on the field at least once an inning, and hilarity would ensue.
Forget all the fancy homerun hitters. That’s the kind of athletic performance I would buy tickets to see.
I’m just not sure philosophers are willing to make the kinds of personal adjustments needed to keep us interested in this day and age. Sure, Descartes kept it simple with “I think, therefore I am.”
But most philosophers prefer to write obscurely. I think they do it on purpose.Either that, or some of us aren’t as smart as we once thought.