I spend quite a bit of my time reading good works of philosophy (as well as literature) and I’ve often wondered about the relationships of philosophers and how successful or not they were at combining love relationships and deep philosophical thought. I myself have struggled with that idea for a while. I wrote Marriage, Motherhood and the Philosophical Mind as a result of my own struggles. I suppose I wouldn’t have anything to struggle about had I not given up the object of my intellectual pursuits – my career in biotechnology.
Now, I struggle to find intellectual challenge as a stay-at-home mother to three beautiful daughters. Try finding intellectual conversations in the middle of a Midwestern blue collar neighborhood. It ain’t gonna happen. I have had a few correspondents via email though and that has helped some.
I came across an interesting blog post this morning highlighting a book about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart – philosophical thinkers and their love relationships.
Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love by Andrew Shaffer. Don’t you find it interesting that it has a cover of all men? I think that must be so because women philosophers are 1) so very few in number and 2) manage to either give up or table their dreams to raise a family because relationships tend to take precedence (though I could be wrong about both).
From Poor Sap Publishing’s blog post, John Francisconi writes
An anecdotal history of mankind’s biggest brains being stumped by affairs of the heart, it is, put simply, a joy to read. Shaffer writes with a smartly narrowed focus on the philosopher’s romantic lives.
A dear internet friend of mine and I had talked about this, that some great minds who had made time for love and had children often abandoned their wives and children in the pursuit of their own scholarly or creative ambitions. Apparently it’s tough to be a responsible parent AND make room for the thinking life. This isn’t the realm of male thinkers either. Anais Nin had an abortion or two because she had no interest in being a mother while she pursued men and her creative life.
The next book I’d like to see written is Great Philosophers Who Made Room for Love and Family – with men and women highlighted to show it can be done. Because there has to be a lot of success stories out there. Because there’s got to be a few great minds in history who haven’t abandoned or neglected their families for the thinking life.