Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Philosophers in Love: Funny Things about Living with a Philosopher

"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."
- From Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities

Philosophers, being rather strange in many ways (delightfully strange, in my opinion), are very interesting beings to live with. Here are a few strange things I’ve noticed in the few years I’ve lived with my philosopher.

1. Books everywhere.

I like to joke that in our apartment, I can’t ever escape my philosopher’s dissertation project. There are books for this everywhere: bathroom, kitchen, under various chairs, stacked beside the bed. Sometimes I even find his books in my bags.

2. Thinking-hours are kept; not regular hours.

Thinking-hours can be at any time of the day/night. Some philosophers do their best thinking at 2am. Getting used to these strange hours can be cause for some grievous misunderstandings at first, but after a while you learn to adjust to them.

3. Strange eating/drinking habits.

Most philosophers forget to eat when they work, but they do not usually forget to drink, particularly caffeinated beverages. Philosophers can drink amazing amounts of caffeinated beverages when they are working. At my philosopher’s peak, be was consuming two-and-a-half, 12-ounce pots of coffee per day. Because my philosopher will not eat lunch when I’m not there to remind him, I set up a schedule where we always eat lunch together.

4. Forgetting strange things.

You may find your philosopher forgetting strange things like (1) washing the shampoo out of their hair, (2) how to get home, (3) to close cupboards, (4) to go to bed, (5) to match socks before they put them on, (6) to turn in super-important paperwork, (7) to close the front door quickly at night so freakishly large palmetto bugs (huge cockroaches) don’t fly into the apartment.

It is very easy to keep yourself from being frustrated by these oddities by viewing your philosopher as an anthropologist would (noticing what they do and interpreting it as a part of their culture, rather than viewing it as an annoyance to be corrected). Personally, I love these quirks. Philosophers make my life much more interesting than it would be otherwise.

5. The ability to talk about things (especially philosophy) at all times.

Philosophers are very good questions-askers and talkers about many things—normal-person things and philosophy.  This does not mean that they are always the best listeners, but this quirk can be worked on. Persons like myself who are not very good talkers can find philosophers delightful beings to share a relationship with, except when they cross lines at times when we would rather have peace. No-talking boundaries are easy to erect with philosophers, though, as they are very sensitive to your rejection of their ideas. As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, a simple, “I’m not feeling up to talking about this right now, but I would be willing to discuss it [at X time],” Is sufficient.  It is wonderful to share a life with a person who likes to talk about interesting things all the time.

Please feel free to share any philosopher-oddities you’ve seen.

You can follow me on twitter (@philosiologist) or friend me on facebook (Philosiologist Qed). You can also send me an email, if you would like (left sidebar). Stay tuned for more in my mini-series this week, Philosophers in Love.

~The Philosiologist


  1. My philosopher, the person who introduced me to your site, does many of the things you mentioned in section 4. He leaves the toothbrush/paste in other places other than where they belong, forget to close cupboards, stays up til 2 or 3am most nights, and is thinking about wonderful/interesting things most of the time. I'll be off in la-la land, thinking about the romantic thing he just said, and he'll look like he's daydreaming about something as sweet. Then I ask him, "What are you thinking about?" And he'll say, "[insert any philosophical theory that in the least slightest sense connects to what he just said, but connects in the most abstract but awesome way]". :)

  2. I don't live with my philosopher yet, but I've noticed all these things from him anyway and have already started to adjust. The same for the sharing a relationship with ideas thing from the previous post.

    It's good to know that one gets used to a philosopher's odd sleeping hours, because, being a person who loves regular sleeping patterns, I was worried about that.

  3. Disgruntled Classicist8 June 2011 at 09:02

    I love #4. Just yesterday, my philosopher made me a cold drink. (Philosophers are excellent cocktail mixers.) A few hours later we were sitting on my deck, and he asked me to get some ice. Well, when I walked into the kitchen, I found that he'd left all of the ice cube trays out on the counter. Those poor melted cubes!

    Of course, I never got an explanation- but we had a rather fun conversation about cognition theory.

  4. I just quizzed my spouse to see if these things were true of me (I'm the philosopher). He unhesitatingly said true to all of them. Especially the coffee.

  5. Well, I'm a philosopher, and many of those things have been said about me, and I am afraid that they are true! I will, indeed, talk about just about anything philosophical at any time, and my most productive hours are at 2:00am. In graduate school I lived on caffeine, and I often do that now when grading student papers. And, I confess, since my divorce I've been told that I talked my ex-husband to death!!! But if one can't spend one's days wandering about in wonder, then what is the point of living!!

  6. While waiting with me in the ER after I had broken my patella, my philosopher wandered out of my room (mid-sentence). He came back ten minutes later and had memorized a map on display in the hallway.

    He certainly "wanders about in wonder," and I love him for it.

  7. My wife is laughing when I translate your blogspot.
    Grettings from a Spanish learning Philosopher...

  8. many philosophers forget dates... birthdays, anniversaries, car registration, etc...

    Not because your unimportant but because it seems like a date is a silly thing to remember when there are so many more interesting things about the relationship.

    Our conception of worth may be different but it is every bit as important and may have a more interesting reason.

    - Nihilistic romantic

  9. @Nihilistic romantic - Dead on. I get crap all the time for not remembering particular dates or specific events but I always try to explain that its because I put more emphasis on the relationship through time rather than any particular events in the relationship that it happens.
    You are right to say it is because we care in a different way.

    And as for the original post - dead on again (I just posted a comment on the philosophers of breaks post saying it was probably the most spot on I have read, this is a close one as well).

    I tend to try to temper by inability to stop thinking about philosophy at 2 in the morning by just forcing myself to sleep or imbibing to the point where thought becomes too difficult, but it is certainly true that some of my best ideas have come as I am falling asleep.

  10. i have one nerd philosophy, i really had 2 complain everything he did, but now im getting used to the situation coz u can never change them, and mind u he was a virgin when i met him at the age of 40.
    i asked him why he was single for such a long time and he said, the appartment was too small for books and a woman