An online commentary from the NYT today delivered a bittersweet reminder. In “The Stone: What Is a Philosopher?” Simon Critchley, an academic philosopher, recounts:
Socrates tells the story of Thales, who was by some accounts the first philosopher. He was looking so intently at the stars that he fell into a well. Some witty Thracian servant girl is said to have made a joke at Thales’ expense — that in his eagerness to know what went on in the sky he was unaware of the things in front of him and at his feet.
Critchley went on to flatter the field and make plenty of jabs at unphilosophical professionals who lack not only ethics and morals but the ability to understand them.
My brother was not a trained philosopher, but he traveled down its well-strewn path and fell in and never got out. He drowned. Not metaphorically. Really.