Kevin Le Merle
Political Sciences, English Literature, and Philosophy
Year of study:
The Dangers of Pop Philosophy and Bad Metaphysics
Social-media has become riddled with 'feel-good' pop-philosophy mottos. You have probably heard of the antiquated ‘YOLO’ by now. By picking apart some examples I hope to show that it is dangerous to confuse pleasure and truth. The pleasure we derive from these phrases often leads us to believe in them. Many of these manifestations of pop-philosophy circulated on social media actually warp and distort the truth that can be found in actual philosophy. A great example of this is « Carpe Diem » which has donned an extremely shallow meaning through pop-philosophy despite originally being a profound philosophical notion. Horace, who coined the phrase, was an epicurian, who in fact did not believe people should run after excessive pleasure, but that they should strive for balance and harmony. I will explain why philosophy, (the art of thinking well), should not be something reserved to specialists. People should try to go beyond the superficial meanings disseminated by media, and seek for deeper underlying truths. These truths might not provide as much short-term pleasure (which is one of the basic reasons for social media's addictive quality), but will promote self-growth. Lastly, my research shows that metaphysics, usually thought of as an extremely abstract field, are directly applicable to people's everyday life and decision-making. These « feel good » mottos engrain unhealthy thought processes in people's minds. For instance, believing in ‘YOLO’ favours short term gratification and prevents people from seeking meaningful connections with others.
I'm a third year Literature and Political Sciences student at University of Glasgow, and I have simultaneously completed a Philosophy degree in Paris. Philosophy is the mother of all sciences, and as such has come in handy in my study of different fields, although I have a stronger affinity for political philosophy and metaphysics. I am currently taking an interest in the dangerous nature of the trend to simplify complex ideas, and I am aiming to reintroduce philosophical rigour and nuance into the popularisation of ideas and concepts issued from academia into mainstream media. I am fascinated by the way in which thinking about something can influence human behaviour, and how shifting our way of thinking about something incredibly mundane (like daily decision making) can help us break down real-life obstacles and barriers. Changing people’s perspective is something that I also work towards in my creative writing.