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Directions from the front porch

Community Columnist

Approached by a noble citizen, I was honored to be thanked for my recent columns in this publication.

I was told that it is much appreciated that I could routinely lift the intellectuality of the local consciousness by offering my peculiar insights on a variety of contemporary topics.

He called me the front porch philosopher of Cazenovia.

Aw, shucks!

First of all, that’s just a basket of soggy croutons. When I think of philosophers, ancient luminaries like Plato, Aristotle and Confucius come to mind. And the front porch folksy witticisms belong to homespun heroes Mark Twain, Will Rogers and Yogi Berra.

I’m more of a fictional cartoon, like Indiana Jones, Frodo Baggins or Yogi Bear, smarter than the average treasure grabber but not wise enough to hold onto it.

Actually, I think we can use a genuine, universally accepted philosopher these days, to get us up to speed and away from the horse and buggy thinking of yesteryear. Too many people turn to fossils, scrolls and fables from the ancients, originating thousands of years ago for wisdom and profound truths.

We need a fresh outlook, an updated inventory, a modern curriculum and a new pathway that takes into account the recent developments of mankind, and perhaps not from a guy with facial hair, a flowing robe and nasty sandals, you know, someone who can at least work Velcro.

Philosophy, the rational investigation of general truths and principles, is a necessary discipline because it relies on logic and not opinion. It is fact-based instead of faith-based, the difference between Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, the difference between “House” and “Monk.” In the olden days, they slaughtered virgins to appease the monsoon gods, while modern philosophy shows us that it’s wiser to fill sand bags and retreat to higher ground.

Let’s be truthful, there are no ancient counterparts that can relate to some of the issues we deal with today, such as same-sex marriage, euthanasia, stem-cell research, cloning, drug usage and military protocol, just to name a few. These social matters should be determined regardless of pious affiliation or cultural tradition.

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