From France to an MA

What’s an MA in Philosophy and the Arts got to do with the dream?

B | I wanted so badly to escape to France. But it’s clear now that my real ambition, the force that’s really driving me is not to insulate myself from the world but to engage in it. For what I want to do, this demands a platform – and while successful writers are often given platforms from which to make an impact I can’t afford to simply hope that success finds me. Doing an MA is the first step in taking control of reaching the platform I want.

Irish President Higgins on World Philosophy Day 2016 said ‘Teach philosophy to heal our ‘post-truth’ society, because philosophers are more important now than they have ever been’. I’m taking that to heart by becoming a philosopher myself and aiming to inspire more critically thinking philosophers from my own children to outreach in schools to the students I hope to tutor.

J~ We had to move to France for a lifestyle that allowed Ben to write to explore and express his fascinations, his obsessions, his theories, his emotions. And not have to write for money. Because what Ben has to say is too important to be encumbered by that concern. Words are powerful. Stories inspire and move and motivate. Poetry is art. Writing is political. The more personally raw the more universally human. Ben has a truth only he can share, and so we are committing again to lives that allow for the fulfilment of what will amount to the only life worth living. The best life we can make for ourselves. The absolute dream life.

The exciting thing about this MA, the PhD and being at Warwick is becoming part of an intellectual community where the issues I think are important are discussed as a matter of course, not now and then or as a response to news, but actively explored.

B | Fulling my purpose. Following my calling. These were the goals we had all that time ago and in the end France was simply the machinery that made reaching them possible. Now that machinery looks very different, but the ambition remains the same and although the trajectory we’re going to take is far more conventional (conventional for us, at least) there’s no room for compromise on what we’re working to achieve, the lives we’re striving to make for each of us.

My goal is that the MA will give me the grounding in philosophy I need to hone my thesis at PhD level, and then move into an interdisciplinary academic philosophy role which I can use to pursue and raise the profile of my thesis and as a platform to raise interest in philosophy.

J~ This is an easier path for me than France. As much work, but more of the mind than body. Less work apart from each other, more together. That’s part of the dream too, being a team, and the only way we come up with every idea and plan that gets us closer to it. 48 hour intense planning, brainstorming, writing, editing sessions. The neverending TALKING. It’s always exciting, always nerve wracking, always tiring, always totally the right thing to do.

At the moment philosophy has an image of being literally academic, not relevant, and not part of the real world. I want to revitalise the understanding that philosopher means lover of knowledge, not holder of knowledge. I want to inspire the love of knowledge in people because that way we solve or pre-empt so many problems which are right there right now.

B | I think it’s a harder path for me. It demands more of me. It’s the truer option. But that’s why I’ll live without the sun, without the Pyrenees, even though the idea of the idyllic French life was so wonderful. In the end it’s a path we are choosing to take us closer to our own identity and integrity. It’s the path that will make the most of what we can do together.










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