Because without humor it is dry, serious, long-winded and disconnected and still outright boring. Who can blame the pop-culture for relating good old wisdom with long drawn philosophical lectures? Philosophy literally means the “love of wisdom.” We study the subject to understand the fundamental issues/problems/challenges concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
I love philosophy but I hate reading it! I believe it’s been made too complex to be understood. It wasn’t meant to be that hard. And now that it is, I would say the subject beats the purpose and should question its own existence.
Thankfully, the modern-day philosophers aren’t always academicians. You’ll find the best ones in your local barista, your favorite stand-up comic or even the Uber driver who dropped you home last night. Wisdom wasn’t plucked from a tree somewhere nor did it fell off of an encyclopedia truck. It was passed on from ages. After much deliberation, of course.
The stuff that I get to read on Philosophy is a powerful treatise on some of humanities greatest paradoxes. I wish I could only read them as well. Sure, of course, I can’t expect things to be easy all the time. I should rather work on elevating my own intellect. I get that. But if given a choice, I would rather read the most boring Historical account than a book that explains the theory of knowledge. Purely because the former’s more readable.
That said, some of the most profound philosophical books that I’ve enjoyed were by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca and other books on Stoicism. These books are surprisingly plainly written. In fact, the intent was for the layperson to understand and be able to practice the philosophies (stoicism). I even find most Buddhist literature so much more readable than the ones on western philosophy.
I wish I could answer that. But until the time I can, I’ll stick to what I am able to read, understand and apply to lead a better life. After all, wisdom is useless if not applied.
P.S. Check out these fantastic pieces at Psychology Today and HuffPost that inspired me to write this.