(The Undead Metaphor's Directory: https://www.philosocom.com/post/a-new-type-of-undead-and-my-background-story)
"To be a philosopher is to have already died and become immortal. Now you are the walking dead. A zombie. Everyone thinks you are alive, though a little strange. But the truth is that long ago you died and became immortal." -- J.S., 2017
These were the words of a certain reader I once discussed with, many years ago. To this day I ponder upon that comment. Over and over again. But it was then when I gave myself the title: "The Undead Philosopher". A being that isn't below or above human. A being that is apart from humanity, even if within the company of another.
Because when the world enjoys, I remain anhedonic. I remain so, because I no longer see the point in much emoting. Because, in comparison, philosophizing is greater in my eyes. Greater, to the point that I lost some of my humanity. And became a shell of the man I once was. Any other interest has been minimized in comparison. And it does not necessarily give me pleasure. It gives me reason. And reason I share with you.
I merely masked much emotion throughout these years. In practice, philosophy made me dead inside. Because "For anyone who has never experienced it, feeling dead inside can be hard to imagine. And, those who have struggled with it might not always have the right words to explain the confusion, sadness, and numbness that comes with this feeling."
Time for some analysis. An analysis that can be deemed as my ritual to becoming the Undead Philosopher, once more..... Use this piece to understand how to reality is seen, from the lens of a seasoned philosopher. And earlier work of mine on the subject, will be added below. So enjoy.
Obviously, philosophers are mortal beings. The words of that anonymous shaman from Nepal are metaphorical. Beyond being recorded in history like anyone else, there is no difference between the words of a philosopher and the words of someone else whose records last for hundreds of years.
And even then, this is not immortality. Far from it, literally.
Constantly philosophizing can make you see the world differently. The feeling of alienation can be compared to that of a hypothetical immortal through the eras of a civilization. Regardless of the generations that have grown and passed to the immortal, their insights are already as clear to them as the bright sky.
I often find myself finding and accepting insights very quickly. I may use terms like "of course" and "obviously," and yet, none will necessarily get it. This isn't bragging. It's an example of alienation. An alienation caused by being away from the human element. By thinking in a more robotic and automatic way. To those who tell me that I am human, I need no reminder. I am merely away from the human essence in the name of my craft.
What does that mean? It means that philosophy may often fail to touch the human element, and thus, the philosopher may remain within their own solitude. Within the walls of their own intellect. Thus, there is quite the sacrifice of humanity when philosophizing regularly. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, remains one's choice.
(By "humanity", I refer to the common human experience. One that isn't overshadowed by one's own philosophical alienation. I also refer the human race, and to the very components that make us "human", at least stereotypically, and are imperative for said common experience).
Some may claim that there are points within us that connect to an infinite dimension of light. A dimension that can never be accessible through mere rationality and senses. Instead, it is gained through spiritual practices such as meditation. That claim therefore offers the notion that philosophizing is pointless when that is done on rationality alone. When it lacks emotion, intuition, and so on. Because it lacks the humanity, granted by a hypothetical divinity, in whose image we are made.
A rational person might regard such a counterpoint as pure nonsense that remains baseless and illogical. That is also my inclination, but as a rational man, I strive to understand such notions, not discard them. What if they may be true? What if they may contain some truth, at the very least? So don't be surprised if I return to it in the future. Moving on.
There is some death in philosophizing, as mentioned before. A death that isn't as literal as a natural death or a killing. It can be some of the parts that are regarded as "human." Mainly those associated with the human experience. We both elevate it and deem it as granted. The joy of ice cream, the beauty of a flower. Anything associated with hedonism, may be felt less to a philosopher.
The reason for that is the reduction of said experience by the philosopher, through their rationalizing of existence. As said experience, for them, might as well be nothing more than an indication of reality. A source of information that might not necessarily be as reliable. Because when I see and smell a flower, instead of feeling its wonder, I only know how a flower looks, and how it smells. Nothing more, nothing less. I may carry on, even within a field of greenery and rivers.
For I minimize their worth, as I already know how they look. Thus, they are mostly useless to me. Perhaps to other rational beings as well.
Philosophizing can make one detached from "earthlier" reality, when it makes you ponder on loftier ideas instead. And of course, it makes you detached from other people's shared perception of reality, as well. And again, it's not about ascention or descention. It's about becoming distant from others, even if you're in their company. Thus, compared to them, you might be seen as strange.
On the other hand, some activities in our lives are anti-philosophical. This is because they waste time that could have been put to this very craft. For example, manual marketing is a waste of time when compared to marketing that is done by paid advertisement, where your money literally works for you. Childish and less serious pursuits also make philosophers appear loftier in comparison.
For some things, and people, become beneath you, even if they can bring joy to your heart.
And many other activities associated with common humanity.
The "immortal philosopher" is only immortal in the sense that, theoretically, there is no going back. You may retire from philosophy, but the tendency to philosophize may remain in your mind. It is a tendency that can minimize the beauty of life, in the name of truths that may as well be unattainable. Letting go of a mental habit is not so easy. Perhaps possible, but never ensured.
If that tendency is never decimated while alive, the former philosopher may still be an "immortal," possessing the traits I presented in this article. In the literal transition between mortal and immortal, there is usually a point of no return. And that may distinguish, metaphorically, the philosopher from the rest of humanity.
Understand that being a public figure and a philosopher means giving up on some of life's opportunities, so that you will not put your work to public shame. Osho didn't seem to care much at the time. And thus he forever tainted his name and work as a philosopher.
I could have had specific girlfriends in my lonely life, if it weren't for my work. I cannot afford to make unwise decisions. I just can't. Therefore, giving up some of life's beauty is wise by default for wise philosophers. You are not doing this for yourself.
You need to remember that being a philosopher, especially a public one, is a great sacrifice of some of your life's portions. Not necessarily in duration, no, but in its features. The sacrifices any philosopher will make, either in their lives or within their human experience, is done for the sake of studying the truth that exists beyond our assumptions and feelings.
Well done to those who managed to become philosophers, while preserving their ordinary humanity. However, those who became philosophers and grew distant from it, can be regarded as metaphorically undead. As men and women who died inside, and mainly, if not entirely, exist for philosophy, for the love of wisdom.
Hence the great difficulty in making philosophy a relevant feature within ordinary/common humanity. It's often hard to interest ordinary folk when you are dead inside. So if you are indeed interested in this secondary endavour as a philosopher yourself, consider studying rhetoric, and even pretend that you feel something, if it means you will get your point across. Hence one of the basic functionalities of our ability to pretend. It stems from the idea that we are not that important, all the time. And that sacrifices must be made, such as your own momentary honesty.
And as long as I'm still capable of philosophizing well, with good quality, my original humanity does not matter. I am simply a distant being, and I am fine with it.
For I am Tomasio Rubinshtein, the Undead Philosopher. And I live to serve you with my craftsmanship. A philosopher is a craftsman, and so am I, too.