What is Stand Up Philosophy

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This blog charts my attempts, in whatever way I can, and whenever I can, and as honestly as possible, to stand up for thinking - real thinking, whether in philosophy or politics, or maths - Because thinking needs standing up for!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The many voices of Thought

I am often asked - why do you perform from the history of philosophy? Why do you not perform more modern stuff? And why do you not use modern philosophy to address the problems of today, as is surely implied by calling what I do 'Stand Up'. A fair question, in many ways, for perhaps the label 'Stand Up' does imply conventional contemporary commentary. Isn't that what stand up is?
 Maybe, but on a deep level, such an argument, misses the point of philosophy itself. For me philosophy, ancient or modern, is really all about using the past of thought to articulate what it is to have a mind, to think and so be free in the present. For it is in the past, that you see the ideas that have given you your mind,  emerge, and then mutate as they become what we are today. It is the past therefore that can teach you how you became what you currently are, and so open you up to becoming different. A move which, rightly or wrongly, I always feel, that an issue based approach, on modern trendy topics, could never quite aspire to. But I am certainly at fault, if this move is not always clear, a fault, that I hope my latest performance piece goes some way to addressing.
Here it is - so judge for yourself!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Standing up for Freedom, the Trailer

'The Stand up Philosopher is Standing up for Freedom
                                                                Join him, because Freedom is worth standing up for'.

   For me, some of the  the joy of performing philosophy, lies in making tangible all the shifts in tempo and mood, that animate the great works of philosophy. If these works were really as they are sometimes seen to be, merely abstract arguments, which are as dry on the page, as they are difficult in the mind, I doubt philosophy would matter at all, or ever be studied. On the the contrary, it is the urgency of the writing, and fascination of thought as it changes its rhythm, sometimes mid-sentence, or runs across a gamut of emotions, which makes philosophy powerful and signficant. It is these then, the complex harmonies and melodies of thought, which the stand up show, by word and expression,  aims to bring to the fore.
   This is all the more the case when one is tracing a theme such as 'freedom' back across the ages. For in this case, the same idea has had many different aspects, moods, and even concepts attached to it. To follow such an idea is therefore to be caught in a wonderful theatre of the mind, where at one level, all is contrary ideas, and powerful passions; and yet, beyond all that tumult, lies always one great gathering theme, which is slowly becoming what it is, across the shifting arguments and passions.
   It is then this passionate and complex development which I hope is caught both in the show itself, but also in the recent trailer-come-short-film we have made of the show. This trailer ought, I thought,  to stand up itself, to ask its own questions, and tell its own story, and yet it must do so in the context of the show from which it was taken. But what it shares directly with the show is the same attempt to develop one great theme, across many changes in tempo and cadence, a theme that might remain, ethereal throughout, and yet all the same is clearly gathering its own relevance and force.