January 25, 2023

We All Have a Philosophy

Do you have a philosophy? After asking 20 random people at a bar the other night, I suspect few people would say they do. Everyone does. Most people are handed a philosophy that they accept without question. That’s still a philosophy.   

One of the key questions philosophers ask is, “What does it mean to live a Good life?”

To get a Good life I was told to:

  • Get good grades to get into a good college
  • Have a paper route to save money for college
  • Become an Eagle Scout to win a scholarship to pay for college
  • Study something in college helps you get a good job when you graduate from college
  • Go to church every Sunday

I think the mistake was the paper route. It gave me time to think. 

At 14 years old, delivering newspapers and collecting payment for them, I saw glimpses of people's lives - day in and day out for six years - every morning. In my neighborhood we all seemed to have been given similar philosophies.

There was a dystopian slice of the philosophy I observed that I called the “Leaf Rakers”. Leaf Rakers are very normal people, in very normal neighborhoods, with very normal jobs, doing something very normal – raking leaves.

I couldn't imagine anything worse.  In a one square mile area, at 14 years old, I started to add things to my list of what it meant to have a Good Life: Not having to rake your own leaves.

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John Zdanowski

January 25, 2023
January 25, 2023
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