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Interview with Catchabula

 
 
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 03:35 pm
Today's interviewee is Catchabula, who has been a member on the forum since november 2008 .

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So what about you? Most of the forum knows you through the profile at the top of every post you make. Tell us about your profile.
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Q1: So tell us a little about your name, why you chose it, what it means, etc.
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Q2: Tell us a little about your avatar. Does it mean anything special to you?
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Yes, it has a special meaning and I explained it before in the Forum. Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BCE-8 BCE) was the leading Roman lyrical poet during the time of Augustus and when I was young we used to read him in highschool. In my country it is still possible to follow the old classical curriculum where you start to learn latin at twelve and classical greek at fourteen. What some would call an "elitist" education is simply a good education, demanding at times but giving a solid base for any further schooling. And Horace's quotes ring through your head for the rest of your life, "Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero", "Ut pictura poesis", "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori". Etc. etc. Yes, it's latin, so what? ;-)

Q3: Explain to us the significance of your user title (if you have one) and/or signature. Where does it come from? What can this small tidbit of info tell us about you?
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I have no signature for the moment. I didn't find a quote yet that sums it all up for me, there's too many to choose from actually. Besides most quotes have such a final ring in them, and I don't want to be a philosopher with a hammer. Perhaps something on doubt? The word itself would be sufficient...

Q4: What made you join the forum?
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To be honest I don't remember. But I know my reasons to stay have evolved. I studied philosophy at the university (master's degree in 1979) and all that I remember are a few general notions and perhaps a specific mental attitude. But keeping that knowledge alive was not my primary motive in joining, I'm mainly looking for my "personal solution". Thinking aloud and allowing other people to peek in your "soul" is a very intimate thing if you look at it. Perhaps it's also some kind of vanity, or exhibitionism? Anyway, I like it here, and I'm not likely to go away.

Q5: Can you tell us anything more about your stats, like the volume of posts, your thanks/thanked ratio, and your rep power?
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These have never really mattered to me. My rep power is four if I remember well, but I don't even know the difference with the three green blocks behind my name (I know I could find out if I wanted to). In fact one should only have oneself as a judge on "philosophical quality", because for me philosophy is above all a matter of personal importance. That's why the blog-section appeals so much to me, less chance of a critical voice shattering your most intimate beliefs there. Yes, I know I should be able to "dig that". But I prefer to be on my own...

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Tell us a little bit more about you in general.
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Q6: If you could describe yourself in one short sentence, what would it be and why?
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Hmm, he lived rather carelessly and he's afraid of old age, and now he takes the questions seriously.

Q7: Do you have any other interests other than philosophy (i.e. hobbies, work, etc.)?
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Oh yes, so many hobbies. I'm a librarian by profession and once my work was my hobby but that time seems to have passed. One of my weirdest hobbies is home-chemistry, I'm brewing quite some horrors in my own chemical laboratory. And this while I don't associate with scientific or even rationalistic philosophy. I call it observing the "dance of matter", but of course I know what I'm doing. And I do understand the equations.

Q8: Do those interests coincide with your affinity for philosophy?
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Sure, why not? Wasn't alchemy the search for the Philosopher's Stone? I once read a few things about Jung's interpretation of alchemy (or the Ars Magna) as inner transformation. Once all knowledge was "philosophia" though part of it was "naturalis". Wasn't Aristotle also a great scientist? Yes, I know this could provoke some debate.

Q9: Can you tell us anything more about yourself?
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So much more that I better don't. I'm one of those old-fashioned guys who sees modesty as a virtue.

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Tell us about philosophy forum and you.
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Q10: What are your favorite areas of the forum? If you have more than one, give us your top five.
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While I was still participating in the actual discussions my contributions were equally spread over the areas. I kept away from the more methodological sections though (not really my cup of tea). Though I have respect for any philosophical subject and (almost) any approach to it. Guys like VideCorSpoon do a great job with their informed focus on logic and method. Hey, am I even allowed to say that here? What will the others think? ;-)

Q11: Do you blog? What are some of the topics you discuss?
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I checked it out and it seems I'm one of the most active bloggers with 75 entries now. Salima, who has become a dear friend, is number one if I see well, but of course my entries don't have her stilistic and substantial quality, and she's not the only one who "blogs" far better than me. In fact I consider my blog-entries as very unequal in value , though all had some importance for me at the moment of writing. I'm absorbed by several personal correspondences lately and when part of a letter has a more than personal meaning I'm posting it as a blog-entry. But of course this is more like saying I'm still around...

Q12: If you could describe philosophyforum.com in one word, what would that word be?
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A place to grow? Oh, that's three words...

Q13: How would you describe your posts and the style/structure you use?
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It is my conviction that style/structure is determined by your specific relationship with the language you use. English is not my native language (which is dutch) and when I'm writing english some artificiality creeps in, not to mention my lack of vocabulary or lack of understanding of double meanings, connotations etc. It all results in some kind of long-windedness and redundancy, as if I wanted to make sure to be understood. While there's actualy not much there to be understood. Hm, did I make myself clear? ;-)

Q14: What would you do to make philosophy forum a better/more interesting place?
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Nothing. It is good and interesting as it is, a place of freedom and yet moderated with care and integrity. And what a variety of people! Ah yes, perhaps there is one thing. Perhaps the anglo-saxon (particularly american) cultural outlook is a little too obvious. Often a thread is only relevant for an american public, and then I feel like left in the cold as a belgian. But I realize that "internationalization" is more easily said than done (it's definitely not easily written ;-) ).

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Tell us a little about your perspective of philosophy in general.
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Q15: What first got you interested in philosophy?
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Q16: Explain how philosophy is important to you.
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Well, it's clear that when you live you ask yourself questions and when life passes these questions deepen and become more urgent. I had to swallow of few disappointments, like becoming a Parkinson-patient at a relatively young age, while my wife has severe multiple sclerosis. So what interests me most now are matters like suffering and death. But don't worry, I'm still able to have a good laugh :-) .

Q17: What keeps you interested in philosophy?
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That is clear from what I said before: its permanent relevance as an answer to your existential questions in every stage of life, or at least as helping you in asking these questions. If "philosophy" is conscious thinking about important matters I will be a philosopher forever.

Q18: If you could define you own particular philosophy in one short sentence, what would it be?
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Trying to get rid of certain worries. Prosaic no?

Q19: What do you think the benefits of philosophy are?
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Does this question means "benefits for me"? If so I explained them earlier. Hey, do the questions indeed become redundant or is it just me getting tired here? Ok then, the benefits of philosophy are... many ;-). Let me quote some latin again: "tot capita, tot sensus", "as many heads, as many convictions (or ideas)". My philosophical motives are not necessarily the same as other's, so how could one determine "the" benefits? But I'm sure philosophy is always beneficial...

Q20: What do you think the drawbacks to philosophy are?
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It seems to me that "drawbacks to philosophy" is a contradictio-in-terminis. And I stopped feeling ashamed for my nerdiness a long time ago ;-) .

Q21: What is your favorite subject in philosophy (i.e. ethics, logic, etc.)?
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My present favorite subject is religious matters in relation with existence. But this can evolve.

Q22: What is your least favorite subject in philosophy?
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Formal logic. I always had an aversion for these p's and q's (mind that's utterly personal).

Q23: Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
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There's more than one of course, but those I prefer those who have some literary talent (from Plato to Sartre). Hey, could Goethe and Shakespeare be called philosophers?

Q24: Who is your least favorite philosopher and why?
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Russell in the Principia. Man, that's perv! ;-)

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Lightning Round!!! Answer either or!
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Q25: Global warming or Global fooling?
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Global wooling

Q26: Conservative or liberal?
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Socialist

Q27: Formal or informal?
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Infernal

Q28: Smart or ignorant?
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Ignorant (it's sacred)

Q29: Mac or PC?
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P(arti) C(ommuniste)

Q30: Awesome or Phenomenal?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,609 • Replies: 6
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sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 04:12 pm
@Catchabula,
If you dont mind and you meant it, what do you think is sacred about ignorance?
0 Replies
 
Catchabula
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 04:22 pm
@Catchabula,
Hm, that was just an allusion I fear. The notion is used by Cusanus if I remember well, but I have to check that out. Never mind...
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 08:20 am
@Catchabula,
and i was just going to ask you to do one of these!
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 09:58 am
@salima,
What worries are you trying to get rid of?
0 Replies
 
Catchabula
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 01:47 pm
@Catchabula,
A cluster of doubt, fear for life and for death, and cosmical loneneliness. Kind of Dante's dark wood. Does this make it more clear?
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 01:48 pm
@Catchabula,
not really, but I'll take it
0 Replies
 
 

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