This is Plato. You may remember him from such prior posts as this one
The word Philosophy comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), literally meaning 'Love of Wisdom'. Therefore, a philosopher is a lover of wisdom. The popular stereotype of a philosopher is an old, Platonic sort of man, who sits in a study at the top of a spire in Oxford or Cambridge pondering for long hours into the night about humanity's existential and all other sorts of stential matters, which we normal, ignorant people cannot possibly understand.
However, with the advent of twentieth century socialism, cheap paper backs and Open University, we can all become philosophers. This means that knowledge and social affluence no longer have to be as intertwined as they have been historically. We can all learn to understand elaborate concepts about the questions of who we are, why we are here and what will make us happy in our myriad of modern forms (perhaps some of these questions will lead us to the finer intricacies of pop lyrics...)
I think that philosophy should be taught in schools. We are taught how to learn, how to pass tests, how to decode mathematical and linguistic symbols. We are taught how to remember but we are not necessarily taught how to think. We are certainly not taught to enjoy what we are learning. As such, is it not surprising that the pursuit of knowledge is difficult at best and undesirable at worst. Thinking laterally is not considered very trendy, or very essential. However (WATCH OUT! POLITICAL REFERENCE COMING!) in lieu of the Recession and the subsequent budget cuts, perhaps concentrating on the patterns of thought and reason would benefit everyone. Either that, or we could all mindlessly route around in the earth searching for the dinosaur bones Sarah Palin believes were planted there by Satan to test our faith. (Remember, we haven't got rid of her - she's running for office AGAIN! OH SWEET ALASKAN JESUS!)
But, hopefully this can be avoided by appealing to Human Intellect instead of Human Superstition. Utilizing the fast-paced, media-saturated society we live in at the moment, philosophers have stepped up their game. Now you can download and listen to KNOWLEDGE on your iphone or ipod (note the dominance of Apple in this field. Incidentally, I'm typing this on a MAC) from websites such as iMinds. Or, if you prefer to learn completely for free, then there are little video snippets of interest over at TED, which is a pretty wicked website. You can basically watch a video about anything. It's like Youtube for the inquiring mind.
If we put our minds together, we can keep Sarah Palin and similar extremists who stand in way of Reason where they belong, with the dinosaurs. (Or, if John McCain had his way, in the kitchen.)
A segment on the BBC's Culture Show inspired this post. You can watch it over on BBC iPlayer.