Is this going to help me understand myself? Why am I here? Why is it so difficult for people to understand me? How will this help me in later life?
Spend a little time with us here. We’ve kind of been there, and we’ve had the same issues to deal with. We were lucky to find great teachers to guide us. We’d like to share some of the insights they instilled in us. Perhaps this will help you with these vexing questions, and help you focus on your goals, your objectives, your life path.
Philosophy? Doesn’t sound like a subject that one thinks has much value. No career prospects, other than teaching in some obsure college. So why philosophy?
Get set. We’re going to rock your world, your understanding of yourself, of others, of nature, of the universe, and yes, maybe of God, or maybe not of God.
Get wet. Immerse yourself in how some of the greatest thinkers that ever lived grappled with these immensities. How scientists have begun to agree that perhaps not all they have to say now is new – that some of these philosophers and mystics have been saying them for centuries.
Get high. These trips of fantasy, these trips of delving into the very soul, these postulates of indefatigable non-violent argumentation that engaged such diverse opinions of what is and what isn’t, where people stood their ground on what they believed until they were forced to concede otherwise, or sometimes just agreed to differ but explained why, will send you higher than any psychotropic you can imagine.
Along they way, as you examine these standpoints, you will learn the art of rational dialectics, the science of logic, the love for learning, and the impulse to engage with others for the betterment of all. We all want world peace. We know it isn’t here yet. But we can bring peace in ourselves, peace in our neighborhood, and quiet fortitude to live with the richness of thought and engagement. Material and wealth will come and go, but equanimity, wisdom and wonder will nurture us our whole lifetime.
Whatever we study, in the end our study is enriched if the tools we use to study are honed to perfection. These tools include languages, both verbal and conceptual, senses that we are blessed with, faculties that help us extend what we perceive, and most importantly the relentless compulsion in us to explore, to reflect, to cogitate, to speculate, to ruminate, to engage – to LIVE.
Whenever we engage, we gather experiences, we gather memories, we increase our repertoire of knowledge. And we recall these experiences, these memories and this knowledge to further our engagement and enquiry.
If we begin to understand why we do this, we may begin to understand where we want to go, and how we might set ourselves on the path to get there.
Philosophy is that branch of study that addresses these issues. It is often ignored in our early years. We encounter it dimly when we are faced with parental and other adult-imposed rules that make no sense at the time. The questions in our hearts remain unanswered, and the confusions and gut-wrenches multiply as the hormones kick in, as we begin to grapple with the reality of impulse, desire, pain, sorrow, injustice, unfairness, and a host of other issues that convince us that we live in a far from perfect world. But there this stays, dormant in us until we burst with it all and try to find ourselves, or wait until our sunset years when we have less to engage with and more to reflect on.
If only we were guided as these mixed emotions confronted us, we might have been able to resolve some of these inner conflicts, and find more focus and purpose – not to mention huge savings in medical and psychiatric support for some of us.
That’s why philosophy. If we learn to love and embrace knowledge, if we stand on the shoulders of these giants, we can short-circuit some of these potential miseries, and live more enriched fulfilling lives.