Is 40 too old?

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Bubble42
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Is 40 too old?

Post by Bubble42 » January 31st, 2018, 8:17 am

I would like to extend these questions to those on here who have studied philosophy at an academic level and I am particularly interested in the opinions of those who studied as mature students.

Everyone is a philosopher in their own way. We are all drawn instinctively to those big questions! Twenty years ago I would have found it all too boring and obscure because I just wanted to get out and get on with life. Having done plenty of that, I have now reached a point where philosophy (and psychology) is starting to interest me at a deeper level. To put it metaphorically, I feel that I am up against a heavy door which is slightly ajar. I desperately want to find out what is on the other side but, equally, I am fearful of not being able to cope with what I may find.

Do I want to upset my very contended (albeit not very mentally challenging) home and family life to pursue knowledge? Will I regret it if I don't?

When you studied was it truly rewarding (I know it would be hard work) or are you now driving yourselves insane with the constant questioning and analysis of human beings and existence?!!

Are there any particular philosophers and/or publications that you found particularly inspiring at the start of your journey (too subjective I know but I would still be interested.)

Does the brain become more trained and capable the more you study or do you need to be a high functioning academic type to study philosophy?

I would be very grateful for your advice and opinions.

Fooloso4
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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Fooloso4 » January 31st, 2018, 12:16 pm

I studied philosophy as a mature student and as an immature student.

I think that much depends on finding a good match with schools and professors. Most schools will allow you to audit classes. If you are not interested in a degree, this may be a better option since there are no required courses you must take. You can follow your own interests and the workload is more manageable.

I don’t know if you will find something on the other side of the door. You may, however, come to question the whole idea of a door and the other side.

It is not clear in what way this might upset your home and family life. Commitment to becoming a full time student will require adjustments at home. It may be a struggle in terms of finances, time, energy, and attention.

Philosophy can be destabilizing. Some find this thrilling but others get vertigo. On the other hand, depending on where it leads you and where you want to go, you might find a sense of stability instead.

I found formal study to be both rewarding and frustrating. When I was young I would sometimes drive myself crazy with constant questioning, but the questions was also at the same time a source of pleasure. When I returned to school the frustration was largely due to a few professors, but there were others who made it worthwhile to endure.

My introduction to philosophy was through Plato. He remains one of my favorites, but I have come to understand him in a very different way. Nietzsche and Wittgenstein are two of my other favorites.

As to publications, I prefer primary texts and commentaries. I never found much of interest in the journals - “Interpretation” being the exception but it is a journal of commentary. I do not care for the problems or topics approach to philosophy. I believe that certain philosophers have something of value to say and that must be to attended to, and to do so requires careful attention to the whole of a work or even the whole of a body of work. That, however, is a personal preference and not the way many degree programs are set up.

The brain does become more trained and capable, but there is a danger in this. Some mistake technical proficiency for thinking. It is analogous to a musician who studies jazz but cannot find her voice.

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LuckyR
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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by LuckyR » January 31st, 2018, 5:02 pm

What is the objective (acquisition of knowledge or a degree)? This will determine the venue (self study vs a university/college). This will in turn answer your original question.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Bubble42 » February 1st, 2018, 6:00 am

Formal learning is my objective via open university distance learning. My learning style however is mainly pragmatist/reflector. Is it better to be more of a theorist to study philosophy or doesn't it matter?

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Bubble42
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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Bubble42 » February 1st, 2018, 6:11 am

Thank you for your response. I would probably have to go down the long distance route via the Open University so assume I wouldn't get much choice in terms of tutors. I am very much a pragmatist/reflector in terms of my learning style. I have loads of questions and ideas but don't always follow through with them. I am hoping that a formal education (I never went to university) will help to train my mind to sit and stay!

I think I might do an access course to get me started and take it from there.

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LuckyR
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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by LuckyR » February 2nd, 2018, 2:55 am

Congrats on going for it. Start with a single class so you stay on top of the curriculum. Later, when you are back in the student frame of mind add classes until you get to the load you think is best.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Georgeanna » February 8th, 2018, 3:13 am

Bubble42 wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 6:11 am
Thank you for your response. I would probably have to go down the long distance route via the Open University so assume I wouldn't get much choice in terms of tutors. I am very much a pragmatist/reflector in terms of my learning style. I have loads of questions and ideas but don't always follow through with them. I am hoping that a formal education (I never went to university) will help to train my mind to sit and stay!

I think I might do an access course to get me started and take it from there.
The OU have excellent free tasters - OpenLearn:

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-cour ... -catalogue

My interest has been piqued by 'Plato on tradition and belief' - level 1, 15 hrs study in your own time...

And it's never too old, why would you think so ?

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Georgeanna » February 8th, 2018, 6:42 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 12:16 pm
"I think that much depends on finding a good match with schools and professors. Most schools will allow you to audit classes".

G
: A good match in terms of personal objectives and circumstances is limited by ease of access and availability. I don't know about 'most schools' allowing you to audit. The only time I've come across this was on an American or Australian online learning site. Which schools did you have in mind ?
----------

"I don’t know if you will find something on the other side of the door. You may, however, come to question the whole idea of a door and the other side".

G
: I like that. It is strange how our ideas of potential obstacles or difficulties are imagined, extended and reinforced by pushing against or up solid materials. In nature, we might have a mountain to climb - as beginners, we wouldn't necessarily want the Everest challenge, rather small achievable steps. Perhaps that is why themes or topics are introduced first rather than chewing away at Plato, Nietzsche or Wittgenstein ?
----------

"It is not clear in what way this might upset your home and family life".

G:
No. However, there is a hint in brackets, perhaps a worry that any personal development might be a threat, with increased imbalance in compatibility. It may be that the foundations for a potential life crisis, or change, already exist. Who knows...philosophy might help clear the mind ?
----------

"Philosophy can be destabilizing. Some find this thrilling but others get vertigo. On the other hand, depending on where it leads you and where you want to go, you might find a sense of stability instead".

G:
Yes. It depends on why you want to do it. How your own personal objectives match up to that of learning outcomes of course materials. Modules can kick-start or kill, and more..
----------

" I found formal study to be both rewarding and frustrating".

G:
Some rewards: being part of a community of learners, some at different stages ( that can be frustrating depending on willingness and patient sharing of knowledge/ideas );
structured process and tutor guidance with suggestions for further reading ( can frustrate due to narrow focus of materials and level/ quality of tutor feedback). Just a few...
----------

" My introduction to philosophy was through Plato. He remains one of my favorites, but I have come to understand him in a very different way. Nietzsche and Wittgenstein are two of my other favorites".

G:
why those three in particular - is there a common factor - and how has your understanding changed ?
----------

"As to publications, I prefer primary texts and commentaries. I never found much of interest in the journals - “Interpretation” being the exception but it is a journal of commentary. I do not care for the problems or topics approach to philosophy. I believe that certain philosophers have something of value to say and that must be to attended to, and to do so requires careful attention to the whole of a work or even the whole of a body of work. That, however, is a personal preference and not the way many degree programs are set up".

G:
I think a themed approach, as in some courses, are valuable as a Way In - or Out !
-----------

"The brain does become more trained and capable, but there is a danger in this. Some mistake technical proficiency for thinking. It is analogous to a musician who studies jazz but cannot find her voice".

G:
The training in a course, I think, does concern becoming more proficient in reading, analysis, writing and even in forum participation. Also, can bring some increased confidence in computer use, and re-searches. It can provide a strong basis for finding your voice. Depending on having the courage and intelligence to explore beyond own background/ beliefs.

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Georgeanna » February 8th, 2018, 6:49 am

Apologies to fooloso4 and anyone else, my use of quotes is quite back to front. Made it a bit more difficult to follow...

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Fooloso4 » February 8th, 2018, 11:40 am

Georgeanna:
I don't know about 'most schools' allowing you to audit. The only time I've come across this was on an American or Australian online learning site. Which schools did you have in mind ?
Good point, I was thinking about the U.S. I don’t know where Bubble is.
It is strange how our ideas of potential obstacles or difficulties are imagined, extended and reinforced by pushing against or up solid materials.
Wittgenstein said:
A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.
G:
why those three in particular [Plato, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein] - is there a common factor - and how has your understanding changed ?
In part because they are an interpretive challenge (although others are too). The all see a connection between philosophy and poetry (poesis). They all see philosophy as therapeutic.

The most significant change in my understanding of Plato regards the Forms - those images of unchanging, eternal truths. They are not objects of knowledge attained via transcendence, that is Plato’s poetry.

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Maxcady10001 » February 8th, 2018, 5:28 pm

Why do so many people take his forms literally?

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Fooloso4 » February 8th, 2018, 7:22 pm

Why do so many people take his forms literally?
Melville’s Ishmael asks:
How many, think ye, have likewise fallen into Plato's honey head, and sweetly and perished?
It is a very attractive image for many reasons. The truth is clear, stable, and knowable. It appeals to religion, mysticism, and reason, to those who desire to know, and those who desire to ascend.

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by jerlands » February 10th, 2018, 5:01 pm

Bubble42 wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 8:17 am
I would like to extend these questions to those on here who have studied philosophy at an academic level and I am particularly interested in the opinions of those who studied as mature students.

Everyone is a philosopher in their own way. We are all drawn instinctively to those big questions! Twenty years ago I would have found it all too boring and obscure because I just wanted to get out and get on with life. Having done plenty of that, I have now reached a point where philosophy (and psychology) is starting to interest me at a deeper level. To put it metaphorically, I feel that I am up against a heavy door which is slightly ajar. I desperately want to find out what is on the other side but, equally, I am fearful of not being able to cope with what I may find.

Do I want to upset my very contended (albeit not very mentally challenging) home and family life to pursue knowledge? Will I regret it if I don't?

When you studied was it truly rewarding (I know it would be hard work) or are you now driving yourselves insane with the constant questioning and analysis of human beings and existence?!!

Are there any particular philosophers and/or publications that you found particularly inspiring at the start of your journey (too subjective I know but I would still be interested.)

Does the brain become more trained and capable the more you study or do you need to be a high functioning academic type to study philosophy?

I would be very grateful for your advice and opinions.
I think you're suffering from mid-life crisis. You might need curricula, I don't know but if you want to improve your brain maybe the first steps would be to study it. The first organ to develop I believe to be the gut. Cells gathered together forming a tubular that created an entrance and exit for nutrient rich seawater to pass. As this structure grew greater communication was needed and the enteric nervous system was born to synchronize cell movement, an undulation which moved nutrient from in to out. So.. from the enteric nervous system all other development seems to have its roots and that structure continued on to develop greater mode of movement, eyes, a spine and so forth. The point is the gut and the brain are very closely related. In embryonic development the brain arises from the same tissues as the gut and they maintain an inseparable connection in all forms of animal life. So, gut health and brain health are pretty much the same thing. If fact, Hippocrates, the claimed father of medicine, said "health begins in the gut." The brain also is largely fat so including in your diet good healthy fats from things like avocados, not and seeds, olive oil, coconut, wild caught salmon, can help the brain function. There's a lot to be learned about the relationship between physical health and mental wellness (contentment.) Currently there's a movement called integrative or functional medicine that preaches a paradigm shift in the medical approach to treatment of disease and disease prevention through nutrition.

There's a plethora of information available online simply by searching for things like "gut brain axis" or "integrative / functional medicine brain health." YouTube also has a host of info..
.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by StayCurious » February 17th, 2018, 11:31 pm

I believe the matter should not be too stressed. One fundamental philosophical idea that I have learned through my years of learning more than anything else is that the pursuit of philosophical exploration should be done with peace of mind. One thing that have me trouble when I was a younger student was taking everything too much to heart, incorporating newly discovered philosophical conclusions into my "ultimate" theory of reality awfully quickly and without any regard to how it may end up making "the game not worth the candle", or life not worth living, put bluntly.

If you're afraid you will find answers you may not want, don't pursue, if you want to anyway, pursue. Many people beginning their spiritual/philosophical journey do so with doubt and fear, but learning to pursue without these background flavors makes the journey much more enjoyable.

I hope that you pursue what you feel you should, ultimately I believe you will find peace of mind either way.

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Bubble42
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Re: Is 40 too old?

Post by Bubble42 » February 25th, 2018, 11:05 am

Thankyou. I think this is one of the advantages of learning when you are older. You have the wisdom to slow down, be un-self conscious and allow ideas to flow without feeling you have something to prove. You can also maintain a sense of perspective and be able to judge when you need to either put more work in or slack off a bit. A very important thing I have discovered in my older years is that I am much more resilient to (constructive) criticism. I am much more interested in it than offended or put off by it as I might have been in my younger years!

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