The Philosophy of Zelenskyy

Betsy Calabaza
4 min readMar 1, 2022


Like always, I’m going to start midway through an irrelevant tangent, proceed to a lukewarm conspiracy theory and finish with a strong pat on the back for a job well done. The preface feels like a moral imperative because my titles are always way better than the content.

On Ayn Rand being a philosopher — If a person picks up a guitar and starts banging on it, they’re a guitarist. We can get into the epistemological politics of it. “Oh well, when we say ‘guitarist’, we intuitively think of a ‘good’ one. And when we say ‘guitarist’, we expect a certain level of competence. When we say guitarist, there should be a standard of what we mean. Even if that standard is arrived at through cultural bias.”

The argument that Ayn Rand was not a philosopher is concluded politically. And conclusions depending on politics are not philosophy unless the politics are made philosophical. Politics are philosophical if you can treat politics like a guitar. Anyone can pick it up and play it. And the conclusion of that play will be beautiful to the philosopher because the conclusions would be philosophical.

Not that I agree or am defending Ayn Rand. There’s a lot to criticize, but the labels we attach to people should be proper if we aim to properly aim philosophy like a guitar.

The Philosophy of Zelenskyy — Here we have the three philosophies:

  • Looking down — The historical philosophical consequences of the actions of Zelenskyy. The scientific approach to deduction.
  • Looking up — The idealization of good, seeing the good, being a witness to the good and trying to attach reason/logos to it.
  • Look into the eyes — This is the practical philosophy. There is a philosophy detached from consequences because the consequences haven’t happened yet. There is a philosophy detached from the heavens because our words have yet to conceptualize what is “good” apart from the gut feeling that springs from us. Apart from these two detachments, we have the experience of looking a person in the eyes and drawing conclusions.

The looking into the eyes is what we suppose we see when we see Zelenskyy. There’s a factor where we, as observers, play a role in interpretation. But we never take the burden away from the observed: they play a role in how they’re observed.

Zelenskyy has appeared to be an excellent leader. We can look into this through science or look up at it and be inspired. But how can we take his influence with us through our own gaze?

I was thinking about this last night. I imagined sunflowers being a symbol of Ukrainian freedom and flourishing. Around the world, in a couple months, people wearing sunflowers for the same reason.

Here is how/where we all come together. Possibly the first time worldwide because it’s one of the first world-impacting event that allows us to become spiritually unified in a common tongue.

This tongue doesn’t originate magically. The tongue is a sound that comes from experience. Once we all have a shared experience, we can play it the same way. Through words, we can construct and forge a common tongue to decipher meaning in concurrence with the blooming of the universal/Reality/life.

This meaning can be studied formally. There’s Ferdinand de Saussure. Another one is Charles S Peirce. With CS Peirce, we get a bargain because its a 2 for 1 theory of metaphysics, as well. The two (theory of meaning; theory of metaphysics) converge to get theory of mind: What does it mean to exist as a solid, biological process that consist of infinite meaning and what are the contents of other similar biological processes?

All of this can be understood through Zelenskyy, as he leads all of us through the struggles of our time.

We understand struggle as a fundamental mechanical feature of the universe (eg, atoms struggle the same way “we” struggle; a Sun can host the environment needed for atoms to come together and act like a different element; sectarian divide can lead to Chicago have various congregated sets of gangs that are mapped through various/common/differing struggles, etc).

That we all function together with the same struggle (the atrocities going on in Ukraine) and, from this common function, come out the other side functioning better together is no accident. It’s a form of bonding. Through these horrors, the next step would be laughing at it.

The ironic turn that makes struggle a pleasure. Not an individual, narcissistic struggle (eg, trying to find something to eat), but a group, unifying struggle.

Thus, wearing sunflowers in various settings and coming together to “be” together as one. The concern is whether the show of solidarity is superficial. That’s the added dimension that open communication/the internet adds to the dialogue. Humanity has been through these struggles countless times before. But never under the same condition to be conscious and embracing common struggles. We’ve seen the struggles as divided by sectarian means. Those lines are becoming blurry.



Betsy Calabaza

blooms — crazy rants masked as abstract experimental philosophy. s/o CS Peirce