St. Justin Martyr

Surprised by the Obvious

We are accustomed to being surprised by the unobvious, that which no one would ever have expected. Good philosophy, however, begins with a wonder that consists, essentially, in being surprised by what is (or should be) extremely obvious. It was said of Socrates – the granddaddy of Western philosophy – that wherever he was, and however many times he had been there before, he always gave the impression of one who was there for the very first time. Like Poe’s purloined letter, the triggers of philosophical astonishment hide from us by lying right before our eyes.

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