“Philosophy is to the real world as masturbation is to sex.”
I took one Philosophy class in college. It was interesting to say the least. During that time period I dated a guy who was also a Christian. We were in his living room talking about my Philosophy class and the discussion led to idealologies that he considered almost blasphemous. My ignorance at the time didn’t allow me to agree. After 15 minutes of listening to me ramble about “thinkers” like Karl Marx, he simply shut the conversation down. He no longer wanted to hash through what I had been learning in Philosophy 101. The discussion was over. That was 10 years ago.
Yesterday, I was talking with a close friend who is married. She is happy. She is in love with a man that she’s loved since high school. It is a love so deep that it is honestly hard for me to wrap my head around. I imagine there is a warring she experiences sometimes; the battle between her responsibilities as a wife and a mother–the selfless–ness required to carry those roles well and still wanting to identify as an individual in order to actualize a stream of independence.
The toughest part about being close friends with a married person is understanding that as a SINGLE person you cannot give relationship advice. Your entire perspective is one-sided. Your feedback is not knowledge or wisdom, but simply inexperienced empathy. I love my friend to death but oftentimes feel inadequate when I talk with her. As a SINGLE person I cannot be a dynamic part of the discussion. I listen. I engage. I validate her feelings. But my understanding never gets clearer because her marriage experience is something that I cannot relate to.
You see, my college boyfriend was an affirmed believer in Jesus Christ. I, on the other hand, was relying on the “Faith I was raised with”, and was therefore open to discussing ideologies rooted in the temporal minds of fallacious philosophers who struggled just like me. Because I related to their confusion, I could partake in the philosophical discussion by asking questions, challenging truths, and developing theories (which lead to more erroneous thinking). While I was trying to figure things out, my ex-boyfriend already knew the truth and had chosen it. He simply said: “Krystal, we’re NOT going to discuss your Philosophy class.” His reality was clear and had therefore invalidated philosophical ideals and perspectives.
With my ex-boyfriend and that Philosophy class in mind, I understand there is a big difference in being exposed to something versus actually experiencing it. Many Philosophers discuss their exposure to Christ, not their experience of Him. Conversely, my friend is married. She has a beautiful life she has built with a man she loves deeply. Her life is a shared experience. My life as a single woman, though still beautiful, is not the same as hers. My exposure to marriage is not validated by any experience of it.
You see, I have idealologies and philosophies about marriage, but I have never been in one. I have absolutely no idea what it takes, what sacrifices must be made, or what the overall objective should be. I have learned to say very little during the discussions I have with my married friend. All I know is what I think. And my fanciful theories about marriage may come close; they may be pleasurable, nice, and oftentimes climatic, but theories (like those often discussed in Philosophy 101) are not real.
As Marx tries to explain in his juxtaposition: There is a big difference between masturbation and sex.
And any marriage advice coming from a SINGLE person is a far cry from experiencing the real thing.
Thanks for reading!