Home > 2011 Posts, About Dave > The Philosopher of Malta

The Philosopher of Malta

Malta is a jewel. Valletta harbor is the Mediterranean’s most beautiful. And the dense concentration of history is unrivaled.

From mysterious Neolithic megarons that pre-date the pyramids, to the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs and Normans, to the Knights of Malta’s stand against a huge Ottoman assault fleet, to Napoleon’s casual conquest on his way to Egypt, to the islands’ desperate fight to stave off the Nazis, and much more, it’s a traveler’s dream.

Looking east across the harbor

And the great beaches. Did I mention those?

I was there not too long ago to do some book research and had the chance to use Malta’s excellent bus system. On one of those rides, the goddess Fortuna gave me an especially bright smile and I met the Philosopher of Malta.

He was a big, rugged, multi-ethnic mix of a man in his middle years, wearing a blue blazer, a crisp, open-collared white shirt, slightly wrinkled gray slacks and somewhat scuffed black dress shoes. He was also driving the bus.

A quay-side church

On this soon-to-be-special trip, I had chosen a seat near the back. And for much of the ride to an ancient site, the passing scenery held my attention. But eventually, I noticed a banner posted above the front windows. The effect of reading the banner’s eight words was startling. I could literally feel a huge jumble of thoughts and beliefs fall into place for me.

Long before I stepped aboard that bus, I had spent years studying philosophy, ethics, most major creeds, and the great religions. As a result, I’d evolved my own independent take on these subjects. But every time I tried to talk with someone about my thoughts. I would ramble and digress and mix my metaphors into a horrible mush. Most of my poor victims would soon check their watches and say, “Oh, look at the time! I really have to go.”

But, on that bus, in that place, at that moment, The Philosopher of Malta saved my tongue from itself. Since then, his words have become my philosophical tagline:

I wish you twice you wish to me

It’s simple, yet profound. And it leads to great talks over coffee in a café. It has even led to cosmic insights while crying into the sunrise after a long night out. But, sadly, I don’t recall any of those.

The small, low Maltese island of Gozo under its cloud cap

There’s not much “turn the other cheek” in the eight words, except when good intentions are in play. But that’s just me. I’m pretty much in the “peace on earth to people of goodwill” camp.

By the way … if you ever ride with the Philosopher, you’ll enjoy it more if you’re thoughtful and have the correct fare.

I’m just sayin’…

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  1. April 4, 2011 at 7:03 am
  2. January 4, 2012 at 7:02 am

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