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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin

“And what would thinking be if it did not constantly confront chaos? Reason shows its true face only when it thunders in its crater.”

– Deleuze, What is Philosophy?

For sometime last year I considered enrolling for a second BA degree in Communication Design (Graphic Design) at the University of Johannesburg. To be considered, an applicant has to submit a portfolio consisting of certain items. One of the required briefs specified a comic strip consisting of five frames, without captions, that illustrates the day in your life you are most proud of.

The photo above, is my unfinished representation of the day I gave my first tutorial in philosophy. It remains unfinished because I abandoned the entire portfolio project when the political situation at UJ disrupted their administrative process and they botched my application. (In retrospect I’m glad it didn’t work out.) The first frame shows me having a cigarette outside the Humanities building, the second shows me nervously biting my lip and the third is me preparing myself in the lady’s room in front of the mirror. The fourth would have been another close-up of my face with my glasses after I had tamed my wild hair into a business-bun (my general work-look) and the last would have been me in front of a smiling class from my back perspective (mirroring the lady’s room frame).

I chose this day because it represented the fruits of all my years of studying something no one knew what to do with. The most popular question people ask me when they hear I study philosophy is, “What do you aim to get hired for with that?”. And I never knew what to say. I still detest this question, people still feel compelled to ask me even though by now I actually have two jobs. In truth I hope to encourage and facilitate the process that taught me to think critically. My first year philosophy classes changed my life, they actually literally redirected the course of my life forever. It was epic man. I idolized my first lecturer, he made bold statements and parked his motorbike right in front of the building. He introduced me to Socrates, Epicures, Kant, Nietzsche, Frankl, Camus and most important of all he introduced me to Schopenhauer. Sparking a life-long academic love affair.

My first tutorial class represented my first chance to do the same for other students. I was incredibly nervous, and in actuality I couldn’t stand up from my chair because I didn’t want the students to see how violently I was shaking. But although my body was failing me, in my heart I felt like a superhero. I still speak to some of the students from that very first class, and maintain a close friendship with two especially bright girls who are already changing the world (I swear to Spaghetti Monster). I still work as a tutor, but in another division of the department; Business Ethics. Which is an entirely different post of challenges and rewards all together.

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