Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Ramblings on Tom and Huck


Ramblings on Tom and Huck

Peter Schultz


            Tom Sawyer has a destination and is satisfied with it, viz., the American dream of wealth, a beautiful girl, and fame.


            Huck Finn has no destination that satisfies or fulfills him and so he “lights out for the territories” leaving the Widow Douglas and “sivilization” behind.


            What if it isn’t only the realities of civilization, its dark side, that the reticent [“ancient’] philosophers are hiding with their art of writing? What if they are hiding philosophy as well?


            Philosophy, although the source of the most complete happiness, exposes truths that don’t make us free, that don’t even make us better. There’s beauty in the pursuit of truth even though the truth itself isn’t beautiful. That pursuit is beautiful because it requires love/eros/passion and inspires by being creative or imaginative. Inspiration and creativity are human pleasures of the highest order.


            So, the adventure [the pursuit] is more rewarding than the destination. Adventurers are closer to fulfillment than those who have “arrived,” those labelled “the successful.” Moreover, seeking and maintaining success requires foregoing the adventure(s), requires becoming or being “sivilized,” as Huck would put it. But, of course, a society of adventurers is unsustainable. Athens needed Crito even more than it needed Socrates, and Socrates knew it. Whatever else Socrates might be, he wasn’t a necessity. Whatever else “philosophy” might be, it isn’t a necessity.

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