On the Hobby of Philosophy

Draft of 2007.10.23 ☛ 2015.03.28

From the Knickerbocker New-York Monthly Magazine vol 22, no 2 (1843)

One of the hobbies cherished in the most especial manner by the good citizen of Paris, is Philosophy; not that he takes delight in the cultivation of wisdom, or makes the study of nature his pursuit: but when things go well with him in the world; when his fortune has reached the limit of his desires; when age has abated the ardor of his passions, and in the bosom of his family he finds himself surrounded with every comfort and luxury that heart could wish; he fancies himself beyond the common accidents of life; he becomes a philosopher. His philosophy is his pet, his play-thing, his hobby-horse upon which he gets astride, and gambols like a frolicsome child. Should his wife scold, should his roast-beef be burnt, should a sudden shower break up a party of pleasure, he alone preserves his equanimity; is smiling, soothing, and consolatory; he is a philosopher. Philosophy is his sovereign panacea; with the understanding that no precautions have been neglected to secure him as far as possible against the weightier mishaps of life.