Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Monthly Archives: September 2012

“…the form is the same but not the substance.”


I’m currently reading a book called The Glass Room by Simon Mawer and there was this sentence that struck me, “…the form is the same but not the substance.” I often think of this notion in relation to shadows and the actual shape that they represent, and dreams and the life they represent. Shadows are the same form of the shape they represent, but not the same substance. This is clear. For example, the shadow of myself walking down the sidewalk may have the same form outlining my body, but it certainly isn’t the same substance – my shadow is not actually myself and does not contain anything that makes up the essence of myself. Yet both myself and my shadow share the same form. So in this way, it can be very disillusioning as to what is the real thing and what isn’t the real thing, even though they may both have the same form and look generally the same.

And when it comes to dreams, it seems as though our dreams are a reflection of the thoughts we have while we are awake and conscious of our thoughts. So they seem similar, yet they are slightly different because they are experienced in different realms of consciousness. It is thought that our dreams are things that we worry about or are on our minds subconsciously. Therefore, it seems as though our dreams are shadows of our thoughts while we are conscious and awake. But how can we know? What if our dream state is the real thing and our conscious ‘awakeness’ is actually the shadow? I’m sure psychologists that study sleep and dreams would argue otherwise, for the former; however, I often wonder if my dreams are somehow more real than my life when I am awake…

In any case, it is interesting to think about the difference between form and substance, shadows and the objects they represent, and dreams and the thoughts they represent.

The life of a philosopher is a life of luxury


The life of a philosopher is a life of luxury…to just be able to sit around and think. The possibilities of thought and what one might gain insight to through thought are phenomenal. All the questions that could be answered by one very simple, fundamental thing that we take for granted, THOUGHT, are endless. And that is the beauty of thought – it is never finished, done. You can always think and think and think more…and perhaps come to more and more conclusions about things that you always wanted answers to. And those answers certainly don’t need to be final. In fact, they probably won’t be final, because as you accumulate more thoughts over time, you will probably change your mind about things and reach a different conclusion. This is the kind of life a philosopher has the luxury of leading…thinking all of the time. But after some time, the luxury may begin to fade and turn into despair as one realizes all that there is to think about and the limits of time and possible answers. Furthermore, after all is thought, what does it amount to? Does it lead to any kind of change or progress in one’s life or in the world? Perhaps sometimes yes and sometimes no. This is the despair of the life of a philosopher.

Near, far


Things look different up close than they do from far away. Of course, this is no new sentiment. However, I have particularly noticed this lately as I look at my dog often, because he is so cute (of course), but it has struck me as something relevant to so many aspects of our lives. With my dog, he looks so noble and regal from afar, but as you get close, he’s certainly still cute, but the close proximity reveals a sweeter, fluffier side. Or with one’s significant other, for example, perhaps at first glance or when you first meet, you see them in one light, and then as you get to know them with time, you see them in a different light (not necessarily in a bad way, just different). With food, something may look and smell delicious from afar, but as you taste it, you may not like the taste and your initial positive perception of it changes. With an artwork, it may look like one thing from afar and then something else up close. I think this especially is probably a very common occurrence. Or with things like movies or music, you may have one perception of them at first glance and another as you delve further. This observation, of things appearing one way from afar and another way up close, is a fairly obvious observation but one that I think has significant implications. If this is the case, we must be very weary of how we perceive things and not jump to a quick conclusion that that perception is the correct one. We must step back and evaluate whether or not our initial impression is accurate and wait for things to settle in before we make a judgement.



I think one’s memories and how one thinks about the past has a lot to do with one’s present mindset. For instance, good and pleasant memories can have a positive impact on one’s current state as one reflects on those good memories, and, on the other hand, bad memories can have a negative effect. I’ve discovered this as I’ve gone through both good and bad times and reflected on both. Pleasant memories are ever so rewarding as they can instantly put you in a good mood and inspire you to have similar good times in the future. However, bad memories of sad times are so difficult to get past and can certainly leave you in a rut if you cannot get past them. Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on good memories, and not even on purpose to put me in a good mood, but they just come to me…which is another thing altogether – isn’t it interesting that sometimes certain memories just come to us for no apparent reason? But on further reflection we realize that there is something happening in our present that has subconsciously reminded us of that past memory, and then the two, past and present, become connected.

Post-college conundrum


As a recent college graduate looking for a job, the hardest thing I find about being in this position is not looking for a job itself, but rather adjusting my mindset from a college student to a working person. In college, at least for me as a philosophy major, it was all about your ideas and how well you can process and analyze information. Not to mention, writing well too. But in the working world, it’s about your skills and what kind of set of skills you have to offer to sell to someone that needs them and can use you for them. This adjustment is what I have a hard time with because I do really miss what was wanted from you in college intellectually and not too eager to have someone use me because of my skills in the ‘real world. But I suppose only time and experience will tell which of the two very different worlds I prefer, or whether or not there is one that is simply ethically better.