In today’s modern world, philosophers still rule. Even as chaos continues to swirl around them, those who rely on the philosophical principles of Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, and others dating back well over 3,000 years know the best is yet to come. Even though they’ve been asked countless times why they are so interested in philosophy or, even worse, chose it as their college major, true philosophers are indeed unique individuals. Should you have a person in your life who is dedicated to Plato and his gang of deep thinkers, here are some unique birthday gifts they’re bound to love.
The Owl of Athens
For a gift that has a universal appeal, showcases a philosopher’s wisdom, and is revolutionary enough to showcase the big ideas surrounding romance, politics, and other areas your philosopher spends hours contemplating, there’s no better gift than something featuring the Owl of Athens. As Socrates noted, “Wisdom begins in wonder.” When you give a gift to your philosopher featuring the Owl of Athens, they will indeed wonder how you found such a unique gift.
To make this idea even better, you can choose from several different items featuring this fascinating owl. First is the owl figurine, handmade in Athens and made with a look based on actual owl items excavated in Athens ruins. Made of ceramine, a mixture of marble and earth powders, it actually imitates the ancient recipe Greeks used to create these works of art.
Since the philosopher in your life has plenty of books to read and papers to organize, why not opt for an Owl of Athens bookend or paperweight? Both items, also handmade in Greece, are unique in their own special way. If you decide on the paperweight, it comes with a quote from Socrates that reads “All I know is that I know nothing.” Truer words were never spoken.
Philosophy or Bust
When a philosopher is sitting around contemplating their deep thoughts and trying to figure out how to come up with yet another answer as to the real meaning of life, having one of their favorite Greek philosophers from years past staring back at them is always inspirational. To make this happen, consider giving them a bust of one of their heroes.
Popular choices include Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. These busts are also handmade in Athens from ceramine, and feature quotes that are sure to shed a whole new light on things for your birthday philosopher. Whereas Aristotle’s bust displays the quote “Happiness depends upon ourselves,” Plato’s reads “Philosophy begins in wonder.” As for Socrates, he is still determined to remind us that “I know one thing that I know nothing.” Okay, okay, you know nothing–stop being so hard on yourself.
I Wear, Therefore I Am (I Think)
When it comes to birthdays for most ordinary people, giving them gifts of clothing is often not received all that well. However, your philosopher is no ordinary person, and they likely remind you of that each day in their own special way. Nevertheless, a few articles of philosophical clothing will be perfect for a birthday gift.
First up is a t-shirt that will be perfect for a philosopher who also happens to be a wine lover. Displaying a quote from Plutarch, who was naturally a great philosopher because he loved saying wine was tasty, pleasant, and quite useful, the t-shirt displays the actual Plutarch quote “For wine is the most beneficial of beverages, the pleasantest of medicines, and the least cloying of appetizing things.”
To make sure your favorite philosopher stays warm when they venture out in the cold, you could decide to give them a hoodie featuring the Plato quote “You cannot harmonize that which disagrees.” When others see this shirt, they’ll be so wrapped up trying to figure out what this means that they are bound to forget just how cold they really are at that moment.
Finally, as a public service to others, you could give a t-shirt reading “Warning! I might start talking about philosophy at any time.”
Philosophy is the Game of Life
When you really stop to think about it or are reminded of it by the philosophers in your life, philosophy really is all about the game of life. To showcase this, you could give a unique set of playing cards. Featuring 52 of the world’s most famous philosophical minds, the cards come with famous quotes as well. Best of all, the cards do feature regular suits, numbers, and faces, so you and your philosopher can engage in a birthday game of poker.
The Teen Philosopher
If there is anyone harder to understand than a seasoned philosopher, it is a youngster who has become captivated with all things Socrates. Should you want your young philosopher to be ready, willing, and able to engage in an intellectually-stimulating exchange of ideas with others, give them the book The Complete Philosophy Files by Stephen Law. Filled with clear and engaging dialogue, the book features lots of cartoons, philosophical puzzles about virtual reality and sci-fi, and other stuff aspiring philosophers are already contemplating.
On the Fingers of One Hand
Whether your philosopher spends time contemplating Nihilism and has decided life is essentially meaningless, embraces the Stoicism of Marcus Aurelius and steps back from chaos so that clear thinking will prevail, or is a libertine freethinker and loves to read Kafka, there will be little doubt they can create quite a discussion about these and other philosophical matters once you give them a set of finger puppets for their birthday.
Featuring the likes of Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, and several other prominent minds of years gone by, these finger puppets look very much like the actual philosophers themselves. Best of all, they will allow your philosopher to have a discussion about whatever they wish without having it look like they are talking only to themselves. After all, philosophers already have a reputation for being, shall we say, a bit different between the ears.
The Freudian Sip
Yes, we meant to say Freudian sip in this case. That’s because we are referring to the coffee mug featuring ol’ Sig, in cartoon form of course. Enjoying a cup of coffee himself, the mug features Sig saying “When you say one thing but you mean your mother.” Should your philosopher decide to use this mug when sipping coffee one morning at the breakfast table with their mother, look out.
Time and Time Again
Last but not least, we cannot leave our discussion of the best gifts for philosophers without featuring the Sisyphus watch. The King of Corinth who used his gift of trickery to twice cheat death, Sisyphus eventually suffered the wrath of Zeus. For his punishment, he was sent to Hades and made to spend eternity pushing a boulder up a hill, only to see it roll down just as he neared the hilltop. For the Sisyphus admirer, this watch will say it all time and time again.
Assuming you have not decided life is meaningless, you know nothing, or you’re not too busy rolling that boulder up a hill, choosing any of these great gifts for philosophers is sure to make your birthday philosopher contemplate even more the meaning of it all.