Good Ol' Charlie Brown -- Philosophy 101

Most everyone enjoys good ol’ Charlie Brown & the gang. Especially the missing football…the little blue blanket….the Great Pumpkin…the girl with the red hair…along with the cynical wisdom of Lucy and Snoopy. There are times when you’ve finished reading Aristotle, Aquinas, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Camus only to realize: “Gee, I’ve heard some of this stuff somewhere before.”

You probably heard it from the Charlie’s cartoonist-minister Charles Schultz who once said something I want to believe: “There is always a market for innocence.” A generalist, Schultz brews whimsical innocence along with large dashes of withering insight. In contrast there are the experts among us who have usually earned the title because they continue to learn more and more about less and less [you’ve heard of orthopedics that treat only the left hand? of biologists who specialize only north of the neck? of astronomers who only study dark matter?]

Charlie Brown innocently yet insight-fully romps through the whole of us in all our peccadillo’s so that with each strip we can translate our smile into a lesson. My favorite lessons include Charlie’s relentless bad-luck-yet-back-for-more…Linus’ desperate need for security whenever and wherever he finds himself…and Lucy’s take-no-prisoners insistence that life’s not just waiting around for you.

Schultz, in philosophy’s best tradition, deals with the whole human. Particularly with what has not changed about humans since the dawn of homo sapiens: The human condition [aka, that galaxy of prides & prejudices that has probably been at the gut of every mistake our species has made from the get-go]. Acting as a thoughtful generalist rather than a preening expert, Schultz has perhaps assembled more little life-lessons for his readers than a think-tank full of empirical technicians.

And with Charlie and the gang, there’s no need to take two aspirin and call back in the morning…..

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