The Ultimate Philosophers
Whenever someone asks me who my favorite philosopher is, my answer usually elicits either a blank stare or a chuckle.
My answer is always Bill Watterson.
Watterson’s comics meant a lot to me when I was growing up. Even though I was hardly an impossible-to-manage kid (cough), I empathized strongly with Calvin’s view of the world. As a constant daydreamer myself, his blurring of reality and fiction spoke to me in a way that few other works, comic or otherwise, really could.
As I grew older, Calvin and Hobbes aged with me. The more adult themes of the comic began to appear, and I started appreciating that, as much as Calvin and Hobbes could be a pure comic strip, it was also, in a very real sense, a philosophy told in comic form. That philosophy, ultimately, was simple: love life, don’t grow old, don’t be afraid to see things differently than others, and never forget the value of love. How is that not a more beautiful, more tangible, philosophy than anything Kant, Nietzsche, or Mendelssohn ever came up with? Not as complex, certainly, but more applicable. When my parents lovingly gifted me the Complete Calvin and Hobbes for my birthday, I gave it a prominent place on my bookshelf, and have enjoyed reading a bit whenever life gets me down.
I guess it’s for that reason that today’s xkcd made me smile. xkcd, like Calvin and Hobbes, can be a pure comic, but frequently ends up actually being philosophy that uses the comic format as little more than a vehicle to discuss deeper ideas. I can’t help but appreciate the idea of the two comics’ main characters running into each other. It gives me a wonderfully fuzzy feeling for some reason, and makes for a lovely conclusion to an otherwise frustrating week.
Want to comment on this post? Join the discussion! Email my public inbox.