Philosophical Love

There was a moment in college when I remember falling hopelessly in love with political philosophy. I took a class the end of my sophomore year that just really took me into the fold.

I grew up discussing politics with my dad over hot turkey sandwiches at Whitespot and pie at Village Inn. I was always very interested in knowing who my parents voted for (my dad would never tell me, my mom always would) as their answers invariably always helped form my own mental vote for what political race we were discussing. Political topics always seemed to get my blood boiling in a way that none other could and I never missed an opportunity to jump on a soap box for a political discussion without much care about the outcome. It was almost always about the discourse for me. The dialogue. The sharing of knowledge held dear and dearly defended. It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I got really invested in winning the debates into which I entered, and that only came from a place of ego. Of wanting, and needing, to be the best in whatever class in which I found myself.

After that first political philosophy class, I came home that summer spouting off Rousseau and de Tocqueville, Locke and Hobbes. As if I had finally uncovered the secrets to the universe all in their writings. As if I was surely the first person to have these inspired epiphanies. As if I had all the answers.

It was incredibly freeing to be that attached to other people’s beliefs. Even though it lasted a short time. Because even though so many of these writings felt kindred in their intention and certainly in their delivery, they were not mine. I could adopt them and riddle off quotes and commit all of their theories and words to memory, but that would no more make them mine than if I had attempted to assign my name to them.

The true gift that this new found love of political philosophy gave me was the permission to take their ideas and run. To be inspired to think for myself in the company of brilliant thoughts.

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