Tag Archives: philosophy

Our Friends at Philolzophy Talk Their New Book



What’s the process of translating a blog to a book like? What was hard? What was surprising?

C: It’s very fun for people like us who like to think about meta stuff. I always knew there was an underlying narrative to our blog so it was fun to lay that out. We pasted all of our favorite articles into a Word document, it ended up being 125,000 words that we chiseled down to around 25,000 over four weeks.

S: What was surprising for me was how much work it as. Like I thought I just had to content farm my own blog til I picked the best things. Wrong. Almost everything needed voice or content editing. Turns out a lot of pop culture shit from like 2010 is totally irrelevant now.

Also for the sake of full disclosure and to be totally honest, we came from a place that was far more snarky, ironic, angry, reactionary, etc. We are both way more grown up, content, happier and inspired than we were when we started. We want to include everyone where perhaps formerly we wanted to show everyone how stupid they were. I’m proud of us, but I don’t deny the poignancy of where we came from whatsoever. There’s a place for all of it, but I think the hardest thing for me was wading through real and sincere thoughts I once had and but don’t currently hold with the same flavor while finding the best way to still represent those thoughts. In any case it feels amazing to be less combative, even if the end product is slightly neutered and pisses off followers who are as butthurt as we once were. Hopefully for their sake not many people are. But regardless, the weight of it is still there, I think.

We’ve talked about how your tone can change over time as you blog and find the right voice. Did you find yourself editing different voices at different times during this process?

C: Yes. We’re two people that write a blog trying to answer the same question “how can I be a thinking person without losing my personality?” Our blog is really about feminism, because the false dichotomy between these two things came from patriarchal views about emotions versus reason. Because we come from this same place, our voices are pretty similar. Most of the changes we made were cosmetic.

S: This is a touch LOL to me because I actually very strongly disagree. I think her voice is much more confident, articulate, straightforward, and (sometimes offensively) (sorry buddy bear) blunt than mine. On the other hand I’m a lot more “emo” as they’d say in 2006… more cautious, worried, nit picking, etc. And I love it. I really love it, it represents the best of our strengths. But was hard for me personally to edit cuz I kept being like, “You can’t say that objectively!!!!” But for real, I think our differences are super complementary. Someone once commented that Chrissy seemed super relatable and nice, and I seemed neurotic as hell. I get it.

What would Socrates think of this book?

C: I don’t think he would like it. Socrates got off on proving people wrong and we think philosophy can be more encouraging than that. There’s room for more voices at the table than just the one who can make the most perfect form of an argument that may or may not be right.

S: Socrates I am pretty sure would hate this because he legit thought women were sub-human. Though I am pretty sure if you gave me like 30 minutes I could convince him to sleep with me, so.

What’s an ad hominem critique of this book?

C: I mean, you could very easily go through the book and make truth tables about how this argument or that argument isn’t the strongest one out there. But that’s what we are trying to draw attention to. If you can make a logically valid argument that god exists (cf: Anselm’s Ontological Argument) but there’s still tons of atheists and agnostics in the world, isn’t it also inversely true then that something could be true without you being able to make a logically valid argument for it?

We’re not this esoteric in the book, I promise, this kind of thinking just gets under my skin.

S: Oh trust me I am on a constant high anxiety wave so here’s the considerations I had in my panic attack the night before this came out: a) this isn’t real philosophy, b) you are immature and desperate and that’s embarrassing, c) you are on a constant downward spiral, the depths of which I can’t believe you haven’t hit yet.

When do you recommend people read this book? When they’ve just been dumped? When they’ve just looked at a picture of Kierkegaard for the first time?

C: Ha! I really think this book is for everyone. I was considering trying to get a copy to Wes Craven because he has a masters degree in philosophy but spent his life directing low brow films. Most people have an intellectual side that they aren’t sure how to connect to their visceral side and we want to encourage them to embrace both and use them together. A professor in college told me I laughed a lot to make myself less intimidating to the guys in my philosophy class because I was smarter than them. This book is for people who don’t want to think in those terms. An appreciation for low brow culture, your gender, your style of dress, your number of sexual partners, your joie de vivre–none of these things speak to your intelligence level.

S: My answers previous to this seem too verbose. So here I will just say “you won’t be bored and you can read it in like 1hr max.”

What do you guys plan to do next?

C: From the day Thought Catalog suggested we do this to today, it’s been just over two months and we’ve been working long hours those days so I feel as if we’re not quite in the space to see what the next thing is. My ultimate dream job is to do some kind of philosophy column for Cosmopolitan. Maybe that.

S: My goal was not to care about success but to make enough money to go on vacation with my boyfriend. Then I did my tax return at 6 p.m. on the 15th and I found out I got like $2,500 back or something stupid. So I might just go on vacation now and let the chips fall as they may as far as possible.

That said my like ultimate dream is to produce a tarot deck and instruction book that isn’t irreverent but is helpful and gorgeously designed. I don’t care if anyone buys it I just want to hold it in my hands and cry a little.

(Book cover design by Brad Surcey)

awesome awesome awesome


phiLOLZophy: Wood Heat

Something I wrote about equality and anger and most of all my understanding of compassion and struggle to practice it.

One of the most disheartening things for me is hearing extremely intelligent people talk in a pompous and non-compassionate way.

It reminds me of something I read when the 99% vs. 1% was at the forefront and people were shouting about how they got where they were with no one else’s help so why shouldn’t everyone else. This is simply not true, most people were helped by many people throughout their lives from their parents and family who fed and clothed them, the population at large which paid taxes which paid for their school, paved the roads they drove on, and for the medicine they took. There are those who built companies before the, or the very company who they came to lead, and everyone who showed them any type of kindness or guidance along the way. “Self-made” is really a foolish term among humans, who seek ways to nurture one another, who form alliances, and build monuments.

In our society, even the people with the roughest lives have probably been helped along by someone, or the infrastructure our ancestors built, kindness from a stranger. It is preposterous, in my opinion, to believe that we’ve made our lives by ourselves, and that we do not need help, or that we don’t receive it. It is just as folly to believe others don’t deserve that same kindness.

One of my favorite lines out of all I’ve written is that “equality is not equal circumstance, but equal opportunity.” There are those better of and worse of then us, there are billions of people on this planet with unique needs and wants and skills, and giving them all the same life would not lead to happiness. I believe people deserve to have their abilities and dreams and ambitions nurtured. That everyone should have the rights to basic needs, to the support to achieve further, the understanding from others that they may need more time, or more encouragement, or more practice then someone else would. I believe others should be treated with respect even when we don’t understand their motivation, or actions, or mistakes.

I think we all deserve to make a lot of mistakes without being looked down on, or told off, or treated as failures. In fact, making mistakes pretty much requires putting in effort, often on something you are unsure of, and that is a type of bravery that needs to be more widely celebrated. We should respect the things one another try hard enough to fail at. Even if they are not the things we would choose.

As the title of one of my favorite books, and a quote that has stuck with me ever since “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” Or for those of you wrapped up it literality, don’t judge a person until you’ve spent two months in their place. Of course, the twist is, we can never really be in another’s place, that is one of the miraculous and mysteries things about being a human being. We never really be anyone but ourselves. But to me, that is what the practice of compassion really is, giving one another the benefit of the doubt, and trying to imagine what it might be like in their place. What challenges they may face, what past struggles have weakened or strengthened them, how their upbringing and experience has affected their world view, goals and morality. Because how else will we ever understand each other, if we don’t leave our own thoughts behind, and forget that someone makes us mad, or thinks differently, but instead pause to think why they would think the way they do. What circumstances have caused them to be the way they are. What have they suffered through, and found joy in?

And with that, I would like to thank the person who inspired this post, who I have felt so angry at, for believing so differently then I do. And I will try to remember the struggles you’ve been through, the things you’ve needed to survive from, and the insecurities you may struggle with, and think more compassionately towards you. For we are both young and learning and although I don’t doubt you will become incredibly successful, I know also that you will change and learn and probably see things differently one day. Maybe not the same as I do, but still differently, and I hope you the best.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Plato: For the greater good.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.

Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!

Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.

Timothy Leary: Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

Douglas Adams: Forty-two.

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Oliver North: National Security was at stake.

B.F. Skinner: Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.

Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Ludwig Wittgenstein: The possibility of “crossing” was encoded into the objects “chicken” and “road”, and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.

Salvador Dali: The Fish.

Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus: For fun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.

Johann von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

David Hume: Out of custom and habit.

Jack Nicholson: ‘Cause it [censored] wanted to. That’s the [censored] reason.

Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?

Ronald Reagan: I forget.

John Sununu: The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.

The Sphinx: You tell me.

Mr. T.: If you saw me coming you’d cross the road too!

Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately … and suck all the marrow out of life.

Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Molly Yard: It was a hen!

Zeno of Elea: To prove it could never reach the other side.

Chaucer: So priketh hem nature in hir corages.

Wordsworth: To wander lonely as a cloud.

The Godfather: I didn’t want its mother to see it like that.

Keats: Philosophy will clip a chicken’s wings.

Blake: To see heaven in a wild fowl.

Othello: Jealousy.

Dr. Johnson: Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have, you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the Need to resist such a public Display of your own lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.

Mrs. Thatcher: This chicken’s not for turning.

Supreme Soviet: There has never been a chicken in this photograph.

Oscar Wilde: Why, indeed? One’s social engagements whilst in town ought never expose one to such barbarous inconvenience – although, perhaps, if one must cross a road, one may do far worse than to cross it as the chicken in question.

Kafka: Hardly the most urgent enquiry to make of a low-grade insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen.

Swift: It is, of course, inevitable that such a loathsome, filth-ridden and degraded creature as Man should assume to question the actions of one in all respects his superior.

Macbeth: To have turned back were as tedious as to go o’er.

Whitehead: Clearly, having fallen victim to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

Freud: An die andere Seite zu kommen. (Much laughter.)

Hamlet: That is not the question.

Donne: It crosseth for thee.

Pope: It was mimicking my Lord Hervey.

Constable: To get a better view.

Yeats: She was following the Faeries that sang to her to come away with them from the dull, bucolic comfort of the farmyard to the waters and the wild.

Shelley: ‘Tis a metaphor for the pursuits of man: though ’twas deemed an extraordinary occurrence at the time, still it brought little to bear on the great scheme of time and history, and was ultimately fruitless and forgotten.

Tolkien: Chickens are respectable folk, and well thought of. They never go on any adventures or do anything unexpected. One fine spring day, as the chicken wandered contentedly around the farmyard, clucking and pecking and enjoying herself immensely, there appeared a Wizard and thirteen Dwarves who were in need of a chicken to share in their adventure. Reluctantly she joined their party, and with them crossed the road into the great Unknown, muttering about how rude the Dwarves were to take her away on such short notice, without even giving her time to brush her feathers or fetch her hat.

Why is there something instead of nothing?

We are unable to propose the existence of nothing, because nothing is impossible for the human mind to comprehend in a similar way to the fact that infinity is impossible to comprehend fully. Human thought and analysis, as I understand it, is based off of the sensory inputs we receive.

Even when comprehending non-material ideas such as justice and mathematics there are strong roots to physical examples and phenomenon. In fact, even if you were to come up with a completely nonphysical example, I would argue that the sensory inputs we have received throughout our lives have influenced our thought patterns enough to play in to the analysis of that given question as well. I would furthermore go on to argue that we never really deal with ‘nothing’ even in the lesser extent of absence of a certain thing. As we define the absence of something through the definition of that something itself, and if there was not the something, we would have no measure of it, and therefore would be unable to deny it’s existence.

At the very least I can tell you that I have been unable to imagine nothing, even in the extremely limited capacity of the end of my own existence, and that my attempts to have been both frightening and unfruitful. They led to my attempted understanding of time and how anything can really exist in this strange flux of the universe.

However, despite my failure to answer your question, I can tell you that I am extremely appreciative of the fact that something does exist, and that for me, at least, that is enough.

Um, could an ordinary superpower be loving books? I usually have a book with me everywhere I go. I enjoy sniffing old books. Bookstores make me happy.

Yes, definitely!

When I got the idea for drawing Ordinary Superpower comics it was really a combination of two ideas. One was something I read a long time ago, that I don’t even remember the source of, about a boy who wrote stories about people with, well, ordinary superpowers. An example would be having a pinky finger that could turn invisible or was really strong. I honestly don’t even remember if his characters made use of the abilities or if they were sort of useless. The second idea was really just the belief that people are more significant than they realize. That the little things matter. I think that there are two very prevalent viewpoints in our society. One that there are so many people, and that they are so small in the course of everything that they don’t matter, that nothing really matters.

The other is that size, and durability are not really the measures of worth. That small actions can have huge impact or that changing a single life is of huge value. The butterfly effect would be considered a real world example of this phenomenon. I prefer this viewpoint, in which consciousness and life and creativity is considered beautiful and precious despite the abundance of people that have been and will be and I’ll tell you why. I don’t think it’s a question that we’ll ever really have an answer for, and instead of fretting about what is right in cases such as these, I think we should believe what makes us the most inspired, productive, happy human beings possible. After all, even if we’re wrong, we stand more to gain by believing, and trying, and being than we do fretting about the inevitable. I think this makes an incredibly strong argument both for optimism, and against fate.

However, back to your original question, I think loving books is a valid and valuable attribute to celebrate. And my comic really does come down to celebrating things that may be overlooked (in a lighthearted and visually pleasing way.) Reading can open up a world of possibilities, and help create more thoughtful, understanding and empathetic people. It’s really an incredible thing humans have created, that allows not only the passage of information efficiently from person to person through the passage of time, but for many of us to feel slightly more understood, and less alone in this infinite universe.


Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth