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Catching the Spirit of the Age

Philosophy is not the most popular subject, perhaps because it's so close to us that we have to shift our perspective to see it. It's like the friend who sneaks up behind you and says, "Guess who?" The philosophy of the day influences all the most popular songs, all the most prestigious universities, all the box office hit movies and more. Some call it relativism, but I think it's more than that. When it comes to religion, there's the philosophy of syncretism -- the idea that all religions are of equal importance, so the wise ones mix them all together -- but that's just a fancy way of saying nothing at all. There's a way of life in Texas, and an ideology in California. Out our back door we hear about the big companies in New York City, the stars in Hollywood and the startups in the Silicon Valley. There's southern pride in the heart of Dixie, there are teenagers in farm towns dreaming of the big cities, and parents in the city dreaming about the countryside. There's pride in the culture among some, and cynicism of our way of life among others. Take a step back and you notice, therefore, that our culture is made up of a medley of philosophies that in turn form a mosaic. Take a walk through any downtown in the U.S. and you may see a piece of abstract art, which may suggest that there is no true form to the modern way of life. But I think there is. I think there is some zeitgeist -- some spirit of the age -- that guides each piece of this mosaic and makes it look like something intelligible. That is why I am taking it upon myself to try and describe each philosophy we find prevailing in our culture today, and look for some common trends. I will write a blog post on each one, in attempt to make sense of the nonsense, to catch the elusive zeitgeist. This zeitgeist says philosophy doesn't matter, and even calls it cumbersome. That, in my opinion, is the strangest philosophy of all. Here are the philosophies I will start with: Relativism, Darwinism, Cartesianism, nihilism, rationalism, and syncretism. I hope you decide to join me in exploring each one.

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