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March 31, 2010
For years I've had it in mind to move to Bowling Green and open a philosophy bookstore. When I mention my dream to others, they look at me as though I were insane. Nobody from Bowling Green would have any interest in purchasing anything from a philosophy bookstore, they assert.
They don't see that that's exactly the point. There would be no sense in starting a philosophy bookstore in New York. If you were enterprising and selected your inventory well, you might make a little money. But who cares about that?
In Bowling Green, however, a philosophy bookstore would be a total curiosity. People would say, "What kind of crazy man would start a philosophy bookstore here? There's no one around here who cares anything about philosophy."
I have it in mind to have a free ice cream night about once a month at the store. Surely some people would come to it. And then some of them would see the framed passages all around the walls. Reading in The Symposium just a couple nights ago, I came on a statement by Diotima that I think I would stick on the back wall, facing people as they came in the shop: "For herein is the evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is nevertheless satisfied with himself: he has no desire for that of which he feels no want."
I can't be sure what effect it would have on people to see such a statement, but it might be worthwhile finding out.
The doubt about a project like the philosophy bookstore is that people have got it engraved in their minds that the purpose of a store is to make money for someone. But that's, at best, a secondary concern. The genuine purpose of a store is to serve as a distribution center. People go to a store to get things they would not otherwise get or even think of getting.
We have become obsessed about money in this society. We don't comprehend that it's merely a tool. We shouldn't let the lack of a tool stop a grand institution from carrying out its purpose.
I don't know if I have the wherewithal to establish the Bowling Green Philosophy Bookstore. But even if I don't the idea in itself is fairly glorious.
The place I have picked out for the philosophy bookstore is where the Tresses and Talons salon is now. It was once an empty space, but before I could scoop it up, the entrepreneurs of beauty rushed in ahead of me.
Out and About with Word and Image of Vermont
The Philosophy Bookstore
I hope it goes without saying that no other books besides tomes on philosophy will be offered by the philosophy bookstore. The plan is to have an elevated inventory. Also, if I'm going to have to run the place, I don't want to have to deal with many customers.
Now, I have my eye on the city hall's empty garage whose roof was blown off by Hurricane Charley a few years ago. I'm not sure if the city authorities would see fit to lease it out for a philosophy bookstore. But, who knows? We'll have to wait and see if wonderment strikes.