I had chicken. He had a baked sweet potato with kale or something else equally exciting.
So. Yeah. I was having dinner with Jeb Bush the other night, along with a few friends, and was explaining to him that I'm not at a university any more, but for 22 years have been an independent philosopher. He said, "Wait. People PAY you for that?" I should have said, "Not enough." But I just said, "Yeah, for a long time now." He couldn't quite wrap his mind around it, even though he's often said to be the bright son in the family. He had to ask again: "Let me get clear on this. You can make a living by just being a philosopher?" Yeah. I know. It's strange. But, hey, so far: Mission Accomplished.
And yet, like Socrates, I'd do it even if nobody ever paid me a penny. I'd surely have to do something else in addition, as many philosophers of the past did. Even Socrates had bills to pay. You need a new toga now and then. Or a tunic. But the vital issues of our lives, the ultimate questions of this life and beyond, are just that important to me. And it's also important for me to share the answers I get with anyone who will listen. For the first two years that I unexpectedly became a public speaker to business and civic groups, like Ralph Waldo Emerson about a century and a half ago, I spoke without any charge. It was fun. And meaningful. I just wanted to do some good. And Notre Dame was paying the bills. Barely. But then the fun activity turned into a thriving business and allowed me to move back to my home state near family and live at the coast, like Epictetus when he himself was freed from the grind. Full time pondering at the beach. It's hard to beat.
And I really appreciate you all who read these little postings, now and then, where I often just put up small ideas that have occurred to me as I sit at my computer. I can't always be out giving talks across the country. I love to be at home. And posting like this gives me a chance to still interact during the day, even when I'm mostly writing or editing a book. So thanks for reading and commenting. I think this way of doing philosophy would make more sense to Jeb, because no money whatsoever is exchanged over it. Just like politics, right? Cheers!