I wrote about television waybackwhen, and tried to read philosophy even earlier. Considering vision and philosophy translate similarly in Bangla, it’s only natural that I would pick up Everything I Know I Learned from TV: philosophy for the unrepentant couch potato at first sight. And I read it in on weekend nearly a decade ago.
Anyone who likes to watch TV and read books should get this little gem. Let me just note the shows and ideas covered.
1. On duties and obligations, God, and modern times.
Friedrich Nietzsche, David Hume, Jean-Paul Sartre.
2. On moral choices and dilemmas, the good, the bad, and the mad.
3. On happiness.
Aristotle, Descartes, Gottfried Leibniz.
4. On love.
Plato, Aristotle, Schopenhauer.
5. On justice and politics.
Socrates, Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill.
6. On the self, and selfishness.
Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant.
7. On living.
Epicurus, Zeno of Citium, Friedrich Nietzsche.
8. On knowing oneself.
Mark Rowlands, the author, is mainly focussed with the philosophy of the individual, and the book is clearly about how one might be. If you are, like me, interested in how the collective might be — that is, political philosophy as opposed to the moral one, though the two are of course intricately linked because collective is made of individuals — then you’d wish for a sequel. As it happens, in the decade since the book, we have had Deadwood, Rome and Game of Thrones for such a project. Even in the realm of the self, How I met your mother or Breaking Bad could match Friends or The Sopranos for analysis of love and madness.
Clearly, whoever named the device ‘idiot box’ wasn’t all that bright!