Philosophyminis is an Instagram account where the big ideas of Sartre, Descartes, Aristotle, Confucius, or even Kafka are simply explained by Professor Jonny Thomson. For him, philosophy is more about curiosity than wisdom.


Burke, the journey

“The dead never truly die. They linger in the stories we tell and the memories we have. Our ancestors whisper to us in the narrative of a great many generations. These are stories with the weight of millennia. It’s wisdom steeped in patience – a history of mistakes already made and lessons readily learned. And so, we need to listen to the voices of the past.
Life is not simply about us. It’s not only about our time, our problems, and our generation. We are each on a journey started long ago, its direction decided by the dead. The hard-traveled miles of our ancestors deserve respect.

Edmund Burke was part of a “social contract” tradition that began with Hobbes and was developed by Locke. But where Burke differed from his predecessors, is in that he argued that the people of today not only have a contract with their government but with each other, and also to multiple generations.

We are not born into an unfounded, unformed country. We are no frontiersmen. We are born into a political tradition that owes itself to many generations of theorists and reformers. It is built on the back of hard-fought change and colored in the blood of patriots. We inherit society; we do not make it. And like any inheritance, like any endowment, we have a duty to those that give it to us. We have to honor the intentions of our forebears. We have to consider the values of our grandparents. We have to listen to the voices of our founding fathers.

But, this contract is not only backward-looking. It is not shackled to the past. We are obliged, too, to those we shall pass our society to. We have to provide the next generation with as good (preferably better) than we received. Like any good steward, we have a duty to the next generations.
As Burke wrote, “Society is indeed…a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”

So, as we move forward into our brave new world, we should not only consider the partisan squabbles of today. We need to consider what we shall pass on and we need to listen to the wisdom of what went before.

Yesterday gave us today, but today will soon be passed to tomorrow.”


FYI, on August 31st, Jonny Thomson‘s latest book will be available: Mini Big Ideas: A Little Book of Big Innovations. 

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