Philosophy and….Philosophy


I missed the memo about Philosophy and ….Philosophy.

Like most freshmen at my liberal arts-y college, I took an Introduction to Philosophy course.   The class was hard, but it helped that the professor looked like something out of Body Heat

(Seriously…slap a tweed sport coat on William Hurt and you get the school girl swoon-worthy Dr. Philip Neujahr.  I had a very unorginal crush on him.)

One of Dr. Neujahr’s favorite transitional phrases was/is, “Firm grasp of the obvious? Yes? Yes? Yes?”  It was a cute and reassuring way of checking in throughout his lectures just to make sure he hadn’t left a gaggle of gobsmacked teenagers in his intellectual dust.

But it was an interesting choice of words.  A lot of the ideas we wrestled with started with something obvious and then we were challenged to reconstruct the cerebral scaffolding that supported concepts that really only seemed obvious.  It was trippy. 

I can’t pretend to have been a truly serious student of philosophy, but the coursework I did undertake did help me to appreciate that there’s a lot more to the human experience than meets the eye.  If we’re tired, or lazy, or things are really, really bad, we can function on a pretty animalistic level.  But given our cranial capacity, we’ve got the option of swimming around in the world of ideas.  Sometimes we figure stuff out, and sometimes, we figure out the stuff we haven’t figured out, and that can be good, too. (I know that’s a bit “Bill & Ted“-ish…but when it comes to my own efforts at doing philosophy, that’s all I got.)

Perhaps it was the affection I had for Dr. Neujahr and all the things he taught me that inspired my adoration of the Philosophy line of skin care products and perfumes.  

I’m a sucker for a well-conceived and well-executed branding campaign.  They had me at “Hope in a Jar“. I mean really, what are beauty products about if not hope?  I don’t  know if Philosophy products are the best thing on the market, but I think they’re the most charming.  And when I go about my day wearing a perfume called “Pure Grace,” maybe, just maybe, I’ll be inspired to actually exhibit the characteristic for which the perfume is named. 

Think deeply and smell good while doing it.  Memo received

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3 thoughts on “Philosophy and….Philosophy

  1. Jeff Hall April 11, 2011 / 7:39 pm

    Best thinking about Neujahr? The way he referred to himself in the third person while giving examples. “Say you have Neujahr’s head is a jar…”

  2. Jamie Walker Ball April 11, 2011 / 8:18 pm

    Bwhahaaha…I had forgotten about that. Adorable! My favorite was when he would recite stuff in dead languages….as a true connoisseur of geeks and nerds, I have to say that Neujahr achieves exceptionally high marks. Like so many profs from our days at OU, really exceptional, truly.

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