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Why Philosophy?

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    Why Philosophy?

    During the times that I have off, I read (or attempt to), usually books about philosophy, religion, or the occult, yet philosophy is the one I have consistently returned to over the years. When I was in college, I attempted to double major in both philosophy and psychology, but due to severe untreated bipolar my concentration for complicated and long texts was not there. Yet I still persist, so why philosophy?

    I’ve always been drawn to challenging and novel material both in content, subject matter, and form. My mind and thought process at default are foggy and hazy, so engaging material that requires a lot of thought and concentration disciplines my mind to think more rigorously. I don’t purport to know everything there is to know about philosophy; at this point I’d still consider myself a novice. But the point is not necessarily acquiring the knowledge itself, it’s how I acquire and consolidate what I know. That’s the implicit truth behind the adage “knowledge is power” - not only am I armed with the knowledge itself, I know how to utilize it. It also teaches me how to question. So it goes that the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. This implies that more knowledge you acquire, the more questions, specifically important and pointed questions emerge. But with realizing how much I don’t know comes a disorientation, the feeling that I don’t know enough, that other lines of thought aren’t being explored. To compensate for this for this lacuna, and to circle back to a previous point, I employ the methods of critical thinking. Yet, the disorientation never goes away, especially in a world that favors easy answers.
    Last edited by Mahat; 10-20-2019, 12:09 PM.

    I tend to err on the side of knowing a lot about a narrow subject, only to realize I missed the broader context. Over time, I do branch out beyond that narrow scope - but I tend to dig down to the deep roots first.

    There are people who embody the beauty of 'jack of all trades, master of none,' where it comes to knowledge - who have a genuine broad scope, but don't specialize. But then in modern culture, people are so oversaturated with shallow information that they skim the surface of many subjects and mistake it for deeper knowledge. The television and internet spoon-feed tidbits and we are taught to stop there and move on, because there's always more, and more, and more.....



      You're certainly correct in understanding that it's not the actual knowledge alone that is power, but its application. Application is what moves the world.

      That being said, I always viewed what philosophy offers as not a form of knowledge, but a form of patterning. Philosophy helps you break the world down via reason, to come to underpinnings and see possibilities past the concrete, and the body of "knowledge" that exists around it is a sort of meta-information scope of the circumstances of the philosophers themselves that led to their various forms of understanding coming to light, and/or just a playbook of the possibilities others have seen. After all, that hazy world you default to, philosophy is what helps give that world order, structure, and strength that can be applied to the world around you -- and it would be a mistake not to recognize this strength, as philosophy forms foundational parts of the motivation for humans to act, whether they recognize it or not.

      Be informed about philosophy, know your options and make choices or new determinations in full awareness and light, or be ruled by philosophies you didn't choose.

      Learn to found your own philosophy, to clarify yourself and your world as other philosophers have, in your own terms, and you can be the true master of your own haze.