Motivation Monday: Utilize the Project of Philosophy


It’s Monday, the beginning of a new week, and you need words of motivation to start your week off right.

This week’s words of motivation: Utilize the Project of Philosophy.

In this 3 minute TED talk video, we see philosophy professor and tech entrepreneur, Damon Horowitz, give an amazing talk of an encounter, which he experienced at San Quentin State Prison, while teaching philosophy to a class of inmates; one inmate in particular named Tony. And through his encounter, not only did Horowitz reveal a forgotten art to the world, but create a life changing moment that inspired one inmate to think critically about what is right and wrong.

What I love most about Horowitz’s TED talk was not only his ability to storytell [which he did a magnificent job], but his ability to illustrate, to the world, of how important philosophy is; and how it can positively change the life of one person (including one prison inmate), if they utilize it effectively: to free your mind; to allow your mind to wander; and think critically.

What is right or wrong? And who are we or they to define them? It is very likely that the act, in which Tony associated himself, was wrong, however, it was those types of questions that allowed him to truly apply the project of philosophy–to question; to research; and apply educated principles of what we already know. And in return, it ultimately made him a more knowledgeable and respected individual. He was no longer a “convict” which society has branded him as; he was now a free thinker–a philosopher. [Remember that Martin Luther King Jr was branded as a “criminal” for committing a crime against the State. But he too utilized the project of philosophy and composed a literary piece of what will be later known as “The Letters from Birmingham Jail.”]  

“We are here for knowledge. Our enemy is thoughtlessness. This is Philosophy.” -Damon Horowitz

The project of philosophy is not just for philosophers (or scholars) but for everyone; and anyone who feels negatively “branded” by society. After watching this TED talk, not only do I have more respect for philosophy, but I have concluded that Education and Knowledge are one of main tenets towards peace in the world. To see an inmate seek knowledge, instead of hate, makes me realize of how important education really is.

We must all invest in an education and support it at every level, including prisons.

So this week utilize the project of philosophy. Question the status quo in your work; your office; your business; etc. and seek knowledge. Don’t be bombarded by false advertisements that tells you what is or what is not true; instead apply the project of philosophy. So in the words of Tony and Damon Horowitz,

“Let’s Do This!”

To follow Damon Horowitz and his TED talks, go to http://www.ted.com/speakers/damon_horowitz.html

You can also check out San Quentin’s Prison University Project (where Damon taught Philosophy) at http://www.prisonuniversityproject.org/

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