Brutus’ first book of philosophy offers a glimpse into the minds of some of history’s greatest thinkers.
Starting with the ancient Greeks and jumping through cultures and epochs, Brutus leads his readers through various musings on the titular question: Is philosophy merely important nonsense? After focusing by turn on suffering, peace, hope and other philosophical dilemmas, his essays ultimately conclude that philosophy is, indeed, a worthwhile—though occasionally nonsensical—pursuit. Of course, a philosopher would say that; still, while Brutus posits (along with Buddha and others) that life is all about the problem of suffering and how to best deal with it, he nonetheless leans toward the Nietzschean attitude of striving ever forward as the best way to surmount life’s difficulties, rather than developing any new theories on the subject. In fact, Brutus identifies Nietzsche’s philosophy as the cure for the disease of modern life. Brutus also contemplates Wittgenstein’s idea that “doing philosophy” is actually the product of a diseased mind, where one must eventually be cured of this funny habit of pondering existence if one is to “get well.” Therefore, can or should one stop doing philosophy? Wittgenstein, the notoriously dour Austrian, certainly believed so, but here the question is left unanswered for the reader to decide, depending on his or her preferred school of thought. Rather than bringing any new ideas to the table, this book reads more like a primer on philosophical thought throughout the ages, in which Brutus demonstrates considerable command over the looming philosophical questions that continue to plague contemplative modern man.
A fine philosophical text to aid in considering the big ideas.