The book, Roots of Wisdom by Mitchel (2015)

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Roots of Wisdom (2015) by Mitchel attempts, in comparison, to describe the actual existence of humanity with that of an avocado and an articchoke. As such, the book attempts to understand why people think that in this universe they have a bigger mission, while others think that they were there only once. In this context, the present paper will discuss the idea of self, truth and reality and examine, according to the explanations given in this book, the relationship between art and philosophy. The Self In the book, Roots of Wisdom, the writer compares avocado fruit with the human nature. The avocado has a seed inside that can produce another avocado when properly planted, thus leading to constant growth and continuity of avocados. On the other hand, the artichoke is the flower head of a plant. It consists of different layers, and once the last layer peels off, nothing else is left. As such, the artichoke is made of nothing else but the layers. The flower has no core or seed, and it, therefore, cannot reproduce and ensure a continuity of the artichoke (Mitchell, 2014).

The avocado point of view regarding humanity gives an illustration that all human beings have a greater purpose in life that dwells on the inside. For instance, Christianity and Judaism suggest that people are not perfect from creation. However, God made us all out of love, and our core purpose in life is to serve Him. Just like the avocado has a core once one dig in deeper, human beings can find their greater purpose especially from a spiritual and mental point of view if they search deeper into their souls. The existence of an avocado lies not on the outside but the inside of the fruit. The same case applies among human beings, as we are not just God’s creations but a reflection of God’s image, thus this makes us unique.

On the contrary, the artichoke ideology gives a different suggestion of human nature and the purpose of humanity in the world. From the artichoke perspective, people that depict this philosophy are characterized by sayings such as “YOLO,” “We are going to die anyway,” and “Carpe Diem.” This shows how many people in the world believe they are just alive to fill the earth and that they have no core purpose. Such people hold views that have no bearing on what is wrong or right whatsoever. By having no guidance or any core source of guidance, such people have difficulties in making the right decisions to secure their future. The same way the artichoke consists of layers that have no continuity; these types of people believe that they are just passersby.

As explained by Berthards (2016), a couple of differences emanate from the avocado and the artichoke philosophies of the human nature. One of the major differences between the two theories is that the avocado ideology suggests that every person has a core purpose that links us all. Just like the core ensures the continuity of the avocado fruit, the core purpose of human beings ensures that all people share a common essential goal that sustains the existence of humanity. As explained above, from a Christian viewpoint, many Christians commit themselves to serving God while living in this world. However, the artichoke is made of many layers with no core. Therefore, this ideology suggests that human beings have no shared purpose among themselves. This shows how humans are different from each other, especially on a spiritual and mental basis.

Truth and Reality

Different people across the world have differing comprehensions and understanding of the human nature. As such, a number of films, songs and paintings by different singers, actors, and painters have been made that help portray how societies across the world view humanity, and how it affects their ways of thinking. This section will provide an analysis of how the character Coach Ken Carter in the movie Coach Carter, portrays the avocado ideology while the character Tony Montana in the movie Scarface, depicts the artichoke ideology of human nature.

In the movie Coach Carter, a man by the name of Ken Carter goes back to his old high school to coach basketball. However, he faces a couple of challenges while trying to coach his basketball team. This is because most of the players perform poorly in school, some are involved in crime and drugs, while others lack any sort of inspiration whatsoever. Nonetheless, Coach Carter focuses on more than just sports. He makes his players sign contracts which require everyone to attend classes, to be always be punctual when attending basketball practice, to maintain good grades in class, and to always dress appropriately while going for a game, among other requirements.

The character Ken Carter portrays his believe in the avocado ideology since he explains to his team members that there is more for them than just basketball. Coach Carter believes there is a core purpose for everyone thus his effort to ensure that the students in his team perform better in both sports and schoolwork, and pushes them to remain positive while making critical decisions regarding their future. This character portrays the thoughts of Descartes that the self and the world are distinct entities by how he encourages his students to look beyond their social pressures, and realize that there is a greater purpose for them than just their surroundings. An example of this art is in how the students embrace the teachings of Coach Carter, and later they transform their lives thus showing that the mind is distinct from the world for one is capable to overcome the pressures of the world, by having a positive mindset.

One of the classic movies that depict the artichoke ideology is the movie Scarface that was released in 1983. The starring character of this movie is called Tony Montana. Tony is an immigrant from Cuba who is trying to make a living in the USA. Tony Montana ends up being a ruthless drug dealer that quickly climbs up the chain and becomes a renowned drug lord. He kills people for money and power without caring about the consequences that might follow. As the artichoke ideology suggests that people have no greater purpose beyond the world, Tony Montana believes that the world is all there is to life, and numerously proclaims that the world is his.

Unlike Platonism, which suggests there exist a third realm to life and a greater sense of purpose that human beings can connect to, Tony Montana portrays a man who believes that art, is a means of transforming the self and reality. He believes that he can have whatever he wants regardless of the rules of the world. To some extent, aspirational desires may be depicted in the artichoke ideology. The theory suggests that there is no deep or Intellectual understanding and explanation as to why people do certain things. According to this ideology and Aristotle’s suggestions, people just do what they desire and this is seen in how Tony Montana in the movie Scarface fulfills his desires by any means.

Another crucial aspect to these ideologies is whether art is a representation or is it a means to transform realities and the self. In the avocado thinking, we can understand how and why different philosophers have used artistic courses such as poetry and painting/drawing, to portray that indeed human beings have a core purpose in this world and that we all must share common virtues such as justice and fairness (Benson, 2000). However, art is also a transformative way in the artichoke ideology. Art helps people create their realities, and their existence becomes their work of art. This is because, in this ideology, people are used to having things their way thus artistic methods such as poetry and music can be used to express ones thinking and suggestions as to how human nature should be perceived and comprehended. Therefore, art is to some extent a means to transform truths and realities by giving people a platform to express their ideas and lifestyles

Art and Philosophy

Art and philosophy may be different, but to some extent, they do cross paths. In simple terms, art conjures up the world while philosophy makes analyzed and comprehend-able statements about the world. Art confines itself to evocating the world whereas philosophy provide accounts about the world without conjuring it. However, there are instances where art and philosophy may cross paths. For example, in Dadaism, one’s whole life is considered one’s work of art. Philosophy explains how everything in this world is understood from a human angle, and that removing the human factor of comprehension regarding everything in the world may make everything inexpressible. As such, it is possible that art is also a philosophical mode of expression (Benson, 2000).

I concur with Descartes arguments that critical thinking and logic are quite crucial in achieving certainty about reality and existence. This is because human beings are endowed with the ability to discern right and wrong and to also study the human nature and establish a sane society. For instance, in the avocado ideology, people are to stay in contact with their spiritual and mental beings to ensure they achieve their core purpose in life. This shows that if human beings explore their abilities to think about their surroundings critically, then they can make better judgments concerning all realities of humanity and its existence.

Empiricism and rationalism dwell a lot on man depending on his understanding to determine the reasons for his existence in the world. Descartes argument suggests that instead of depending so much self-determination, one should critically analyze all the aspects of his/her surroundings and the come up with the most preferred resolutions. However, phenomenology might affect a person’s ability to critically think since one’s personal experiences might deter the mind’s ability to comprehend certain scenarios. Nevertheless, critical thinking and logic are the best options for achieving certainty about the realities and existence of humanity.

It may be correct that some kinds of art express the truth more fully than others. Some arts such as music tend to be more prominent in delivering the truths since they are easy to comprehend. For instance, if a story is told through a song, one might easily understand and memorize it because of the beautiful rhythms and voices that may be present in a song. On the other hand, a poem might be full of literary styles that can be hard to understand thus not be able to express the truth adequately (Berthards, 2016). Additionally, the idea and purpose of art differ across cultures because people have different comprehensions of their society depending on their personal experiences or the information passed on to them by their predecessors. Moreover, some cultures may prefer poetry and music as their art of expression while some cultures prefer the use paintings or drawings.

Conclusively, the understanding of human existence and its nature differs across the world. This is because certain economic, political, and social aspects influence the theories that come from trying to explain human nature. As such, I believe that we are all made in the image of God and that people should not judge others by the outside appearance but rather, people should observe the inside qualities of a person. Therefore, in my opinion, the avocado theory depicts the true nature of humanity.

References

Mitchell, H. B. (2015). Roots of Wisdom: A Tapestry of Philosophical Traditions. Nelson Education.

Benson, H. H. (2000). Socratic Wisdom: the model of knowledge in Plato's early dialogues. Oxford University Press on Demand.

Berthards, B. (2016). The dream book: Symbols of understanding self. Petaluma: California. New Century Publishers.

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