Considering that my last two posts have been on philosophy, it may come as a surprise that I am not actually a fan of philosophy. Granted, I do not find it useless or boring in all cases–but I have never really quite latched onto it and its fundamentals. In my own life, I have found that I am more concerned with feeling my way through my own life instead of reasoning my way to discovering the principles of a perfectly organized and categorizable universe. Thinking about philosophy and defining it in its wholeness is no easy feat; as Luc Ferry’s book A Brief History of Thought makes clear. I’m neither an expert in the field of philosophy or how one is “supposed” to live life, but like everyone else make up this world in which we live in, and do have some sort of grasp on it.
Much of the philosophy that is really the groundworks upon which the field of study is built upon is based on words from Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc. Much of their works in turn have to do with how our universe can be explained, categorized, and understood. Much of philosophy is akin to somewhat of a precursor to the sciences and their discoveries. Philosophy is something like the Nanny McPhee of the sciences in that because of the charming philosophy, the other sciences were able to straighten themselves out and grow up to be the respectable adults that they are. Philosophical inquiry often leads to scientific inquiry and discoveries. Therefore, it is not merely the practice of intense navel-gazing adopted by the eccentric fringe of society, but something that is the basis of human thought and action– something necessary to human development.
However, I found that the way that I approached life was much different than a philosophical approach.
For one thing, I do not care for thoughts on what is a part and what makes a whole or when a thing stops being itself. I really find no joy in asking these questions. I found one answer as apt as the next, but clearly there was no possibility of finding a clear and definite conclusion. Each person had a correct answer; and so perhaps there was something wrong with the question being asked.
Many of the questions in philosophy have no answer and merely thinking about them proves to be a futile search. What is important is how the thoughts that you generate affect your life. For example, I think that we cannot really know whether anything outside of ourselves exists or that what we know to be true is actually the truth. There simply is no way to prove we are not being deceived or are in a dream and that there is an entire reality that is more real than this that we simply cannot comprehend. Acting on these thoughts may lead one to depression or madness. However, what is the benefit of that?
At times, these questions simply do not relate to our lives which we are living in. Regardless of whether anything is real or not, we are definitely experiencing something–that is as clear as the nose on your face! Why not make the most of it? There is the possibility of feeling the highest of highs and the lowest of lows so why not at least choose something and see where the ride takes you? We can try to think that we understand how everything works, but it is simply not possible. Here, our questioning leads us to one big questions. Yes, now what? Now how will you proceed? What do you value and what will give you the greatest reward? Do the thinking and question everything–but at the end of the day learn to live your life, as this is what has been placed in front of us.