This past summer, I was having lunch with a friend of mine. Over fish tacos, he asked me what reason I had to believe that I could work with end-of-life conversation partners. How did I know that I could bring them peace of mind? I told him I did not know, and my intuition was that I didn’t to. In philosophical counseling, one has an idea, one agrees to follow a line of thought, and one has the fortitude to see the inquiry through to the end. Beyond that, one loves the activity, the other, oneself, and, not least, the ‘we’ coming out through questions, gestures, reasons–all this without having any theological or moral expertise to speak of.
The philosophical counselor is, in a manner of speaking, like Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka.
There’s no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There’s no knowing where we’re rowing
Or which way the river’s flowing
I don’t know; I try out. We don’t know; we try out; we inquire. We do, we make, we make do. Througout, we seek understanding.