Wondering, Philosophy

World Philosophy Day is celebrated every year on the third Thursday of November. This year 2018 it is being celebrated on the 15th November. It is a day for us to share our free thoughts, candidly explore the vast landscape of creative minds and discuss critical ideas, ignite public discourse on social change or deliberate on society’s challenges.

 

It was proclaimed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2005. UNESCO underlines the enduring value of philosophy for the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual. Philosophy is a disciple that encourages critical and courageous thinking. Philosophy creates the intellectual conditions for change, sustainable development and peace. It belongs to everyone, everywhere who cares about philosophy.

 

There are set of fundamental goals that are to be achieved as a part of this annual day celebration. Like the annual day in schools this is such a profound school of thought that can change the way look at life and the way live our life.

 

The goal is to strengthen the different organizations thoughts, beliefs of states across the world and thinking of societies at large to the commitment for the idea of fostering philosophy.

The goal is to cultivate philosophical approach and create critical analysis towards solving the bigger challenges facing humanity.

The goal is to give a prelude to the scientific community to build a different perspective towards developing simpler solutions to complex problems.

 

Here is a glimpse of the galaxy of thoughts from the minds of great thinkers of all times whose perspectives simply transcend time. These philosophies have deeply influenced individuals, profoundly transformed societies and significantly leapfrogged civilizations into the wider realms of broader reflections…

 

Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, the only thing he believed that he could be certain of was that he was doubting, leading to his famous phrase “I think, therefore I am”. He sought to doubt all his beliefs to decide which beliefs he could be certain were true.

Baruch Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher is known for his Ethics, in which God and Nature are clearly identified. God is nature and nature is God. That “eternal and infinite being” we call God, or Nature, acts from the same necessity from which he exist.

Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher attacks the concept of essential truth and seeks to destabilize the concept of “universal morality”.  Perspectivism argues that all truth claims are contingent on, and the product of, a person’s perspective.

Jacques Rousseau, a French philosopher believed that people in the state of nature were innocent and at their best and they were corrupted by the unnaturalness of civilization. He formulated the social “contract theory”.

Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher believed that the rightness or wrongness of action doesn’t depend on their consequences but whether they fulfill our duty. There is supreme principle of morality and he called “categorical imperative”.

George Berkley, an Irish philosopher “to be means to be perceived”, the clearly things exist only when they are being perceived. He believed that abstract ideas are the source of all philosophical perplexity and illusion.

David Hume, a Scottish philosopher conceived of philosophy as the inductive, experimental science of human nature. He suggested that self is a bundle of perceptions, like links in a chain…known as the “bundle theory of self”.

John Locke, a British philosopher believed that human nature allowed people to be selfish. In a natural state all people are equal and independent, and everyone had a natural right to defend his “life, health, liberty or possessions”.

 

There is a perception. It is all in the world of abstraction. It is a subject of random contemplation or conceptual thinking without any purpose to fulfill or goals to meet. On the contrary there is deeper thinking and structured approach that drives and govern the working of the body of philosophy.

 

Perspective is the way we look at things…  

           

If we think digital dependency affects creative thinking of children then from that perspective it is a negative device. If we think digital connection enhances the global exposure then from that perspective it is a positive device. It is important to put things in right perspective.

 

Is then philosophy merely a perspective of how we look at things in life and how to live our life?

 

There are so many different ways to live our life. Life is a wonderful manifestation of different roles we play. The life of a social reformer. The life of religious preacher. The life of spiritual leader. The life of political leader. The life of an environmental activist. The life of a scientist. The life of an artist. The life of a farmer. The life of an industrialist.

Is that anyway making one human being better or worse than the other? Is that anyway putting one group superior and another group inferior? Is that any way making us less human? Is that anyway defines our existence. Is that anyway confining our knowledge? Is that anyway questioning our ethics? Is that anyway affects our aesthetics. Is that anyway making us logical or less than rational?

There are innate qualities that we are born with and there are other qualities that we nurture from the nature and the culture with which we grow along. We cultivate diverse school of thoughts from the family, friends, community and society we live with and work. And these variegated schools of thoughts over a period get matured and molded into different perspectives and defined philosophies.

 

Thales is considered to be the first ancient philosopher.

Socrates is considered to be the father of western philosophy.

Descartes is considered to the father of modern philosophy.

 

Philosophy provides us with the perspective of being human being. The question of how we are as being and why we are as human being…the existence, the reality, the truth, the values, the beliefs and the nature. Everything around us is soaked and stirred with the ingredients of philosophy. We are born with the Pandora Box, and it comprises of box of questions and we keep asking till we complete our journey on this beautiful planet. One life, one generation, one civilization, one era is where one perspective gets created and then passed onto the next and the next, the saga of such repository of perspective keeps expanding then forever.

 

Philosophy is love of knowledge and wisdom…

 

Philosophy deals with every subject and concepts that matters to understand the very existence of us on this only and lonely planet with life and the reality of life as it exist. The whole idea of our existence and the concept of reality is quite intriguing.

The mystery behind the nature.

The history behind our life.

How it all did start? Who is there behind this world of magic? Indeed it seems so magical. There is science to give us some logic but it is insignificant to the magic of nature. It keeps us in constant awe and wonder. We have become wanderers. We have become explorers. We have become discoverers. We are the thinkers. We are the greatest seeker of knowledge and wisdom.

Philosophy is more about asking the questions and less about getting the answers. There are no right answers and there are no wrong questions. One question gives way to another question once we get the answer and the cycle of questioning continues, philosophy is about learning the art of questioning. And the Socrates Method of questioning has set the art of questioning in its right perspective.

Philosophy is about asking the question of why we think the way we think. Philosophy is about asking the question of why we experience things the way we do things. Philosophy is about asking the question of what is right and what is wrong, and then why it is right the way it is and why it is wrong the way it is. Philosophy is about asking what beauty is in life and what the bounty of life.

 

These are represented by different branches of philosophy namely Epistemology to Metaphysics to Ethics to Logic to Aesthetics.

 

There are multiple streams of thoughts that get grouped in what we call the scientific thoughts to thoughts of economic of business to social justice system to system of governance of state and to the thoughts that govern our religious beliefs. There is philosophy behind the way a democrat run the government to the way an autocrat runs the government. There are philosophies in the way the Christianity belief in the God to the way Muslim belief in the God to the way Hinduism belief in the God. There is philosophy behind the atheist to mono-theist to multi-theists. There is philosophy behind the way capitalist run the economy to the way socialist or communist run the economic.

The quintessential question remains whether philosophy has any significance in our life. Is there any impact philosophy has on our life. It is intangible. It is abstract. It is theory. It is conceptual. It is an argument. It is just a proposition. It is just an assumption.

 

Philosophy is merely a perspective…

 

It is the perspective that helps us to understand our life little better and make our living little more meaningful. And our perspectives keep changing and keep evolving with newer experiences and wider exposure.

 

In other words philosophy facilitates to solve problems by analyze it better. The lens philosophy throws different light on the same subject. That luminosity of light is nothing but a form of perspective. It is the way we look at things and the way we change our ways of seeing things. It is the shift. It is the angle. It is the dimension. It is the position. The reflection. The introspection. The contemplation.

Our attitude towards life. Our vision of life. Our purpose in life. Our goal in life. Our understanding of life. Our appreciation of life. There are rules. There are guidelines. There are science. There are beliefs. There are values. Everything adds up into a grand composition and collectively acts as an ecosystem to govern the way we live of our life. Living our life is an art and we keep learning the art of living to live a happy and peaceful life.

 

In essence philosophy is all about examining the true meaning of life and truly engaging oneself towards living a meaningful life. The purpose, the peace and the happiness…

 

For few lives is after the religious practices. For few others life is after the spiritual path. For many lives is about love. For many others life is purely about happiness. For few others life is about success. For many others life is about wealth. For few lives is about exploration and discovery. For many lives is all about wandering and wondering. For few lives is about power and more power. For few others life is about ruling and dominating. For few others life is about music and dance. For many others life is about sports and play. For many others life is about study and more study towards acquiring knowledge and displacing ignorance.

 

All of them have their perspective and all perspective coexistence to create the world the way it is and the way we look at the world in its entirety.

 

Philosophy looks into the fundamental question like what is the relationship between personal and society, and between nature and human, and between human and God, and between the thoughts and action, and between man and woman, between who we are and what we want to be in life. It addresses the dichotomy of life. It analyses the paradoxes in life. It applies the metaphors to life. It presents anecdotes on life. It breaks the stereotypes in our thinking. It makes up the emptiness in our life. It becomes our path finder. It becomes our torch-bearer. It becomes a catalyst. It becomes an enabler. It is becomes the facilitator.

 

Perception starts a process…

 

And it is the way we perceive things around us that provides the valuable inputs in conceiving our belief system. It is our belief system ably supported by our own body of knowledge that determines the perspective we develop. It is all about how we see or seek things.

 

Perspective is a point of view…

 

It’s a view and it is the view-point that matters in philosophy. It could be derived out of our deep observation and deduced from our deeper contemplation. In philosophy there is no experimentation to prove a hypothesis and there is only exploration to give a perspective.

 

Philosophy is perspective…

 

There were two different perspectives in terms of Idealist and Materialist. For the idealist, it was the idea that mattered. For the materialist, it was the matter that mattered. Descartes to Kant were with the idealist perspective. Hume and Locke were with the materialist perspective. There were two other different perspectives of rationalism and empiricism.  Rationalism is the perspective of reason and deduction. It is focused on thinking. It is the mind that thinks and analyzes.

French philosopher Rene Descartes was a rationalist. Empiricism is the perspective of perception and induction. It is focused on experience. It is the sense that observes and absorbs. British philosopher John Locke was an empiricist.

Monism is everything in the world is made of one thing. It is “doctrine of unity”. There is only one being and everything else is a mere manifestation of that one being. Pluralism is everything in the world is made of many things. It is “doctrine of multiplicity”. There are so many substances in nature that adds up construct the reality. Stoicism and Epicureanism as tow different school of thoughts. Stoicism holds virtue. Epicureanism holds pleasure.

Philosophy is the way of looking at everything from the self to society, from one’s own nature to the nature around us, from the inner world to the world of universe, from the answers to asking questions, from knowing the truth to finding the facts. Philosophy is from anything to everything.

There are perspectives that define the Western to Eastern philosophy. There are perspectives that define the Political to Economics to Social philosophy. There are perspectives that define the Ancient to Medieval to Modern philosophers. There are perspectives that define Socrates and pre-Socrates and post-Socrates philosophies.

 

The unexamined life is not worth living – Socrates

I think, therefore I am – Rene Descartes

No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience – John Locke

Leisure is the mother of philosophy – Thomas Hobbes

Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know – Bertrand Russell

Happiness is the highest good – Aristotle

Man is condemned to be free – Paul Sartre

The beginning is the most important part of the work – Plato

The only thing I know is that I know nothing – Socrates

 

It’s an important day to reckon with the world of wisdom, let’s open our windows to the otherwise closed minds of ours by carefully reading these profound thoughts of great thinkers who have fundamentally redefined the way we think and the way we live our life.

 

It’s about subtly turning a new leaf in the book that we look for in our sublime life…

 


Nihar R Pradhan

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