Fundamentals to Philosophy Lesson 1
Are you familiar with the words of Søren Kierkegaard or Alan Watts?
Is Philosophy Practical?
One of the clearest concerns to those whom are interested in studying philosophy is; are there any real-life and practical applications to this field? The answer can be said to heavily depend on the kind of philosophy involved. I would agree that some philosophical schools of thinking are more beneficial than others. I will go as far as to state that concentrating on a single school of philosophy can even be detrimental to the healthy progress of the individual. However, there is something quite magical to the study of numerous philosophies. As I have already stated, studying just one philosophy can be bad. Regardless, that's a trap that many of us fall into from time to time during our lives on this planet. We seem to do it naturally, especially when we are young. But, when we begin to look at ways of thinking that are new to us, we are exercising the mind. We can develop new methods of thinking by the synthesis of new neural pathways. When we meditate on the same item in a different way, we don't necessarily create new brain cells; but, we discover new ways to apply the usage of existing neurons! When Siddhartha Gautama ("the Buddha") taught a lecture by holding a flower for an elongated period of time, something fascinating was accomplished. He allowed his disciples to conceptualize what a lecture truly is in a very unique fashion. The lecture was still a lecture, but it was produced and conceived by original means. How is all of this practical? In the last example from the Buddha, the fundamental understanding of lectures was expanded on a relatively wide collective scale. Also note that the Buddha's disciples were likely to think of other seemingly monotonous experiences in unique ways (due to physiological changes in the brain via the creation of new neural pathways). Almost anyone can memorize a large group of words. Still, very few individuals could make another "Romeo and Juliet"! All of the paint needed to paint are readily available at stores worldwide, but it takes the right application and combinations to make a "Mona Lisa". The information to cure major diseases exists, yet the right mind to put this info together is still essential to proper medical restoration.
What Is Philosophy?
The word itself comes from the Greek word "φιλοσοφία" ("filosofia"). "Φιλο" ("filo") means "pro" and "σοφία" ("sofia") means wisdom. Therefore, the etymological origins for the word go back to a meaning close to "pro-wisdom". This is interesting, but not essential; the Greeks were far from the only peoples to ever contribute to this area of study. Philosophy is an art form. Like any art, it can range from the very complex to the very simple. And, even such vague understandings of any piece of artistic expression is relative to an individual or collection of people. Philosophy can be defined as the art of thinking, just as drawing can be defined as making pictures with pencils. "Thinking" by itself is not an adequate enough definition; this word is already defined, even if these two vocabulary items are synonymous. To comprehend philosophy, I believe one should delve into it. That is what we will be doing. We have, in fact, been doing just that! Guided reflections of philosophical methodologies for understanding can be preferred to simply diving into the ocean. Just jumping into an ocean without a guide can be dangerous. Are there sharks? Are there poisonous organisms in this water? If I am alone, who will help me if the waves get too rough for my ability to escape? Dear students, you are in the right place. We will continue this course by looking at the world (and reality itself) in new and interesting ways.
Why Should I Study Philosophy?
Finally, why should any of us consider taking time to philosophize and to arduously inquire about the philosophizing of others? Because, by doing so we increase our mental capabilities, we better our understanding of history, we connect to our brothers and sisters (both living and dead), and we learn how to use our minds. On that last note, consider the importance of knowing what way to use our own brains. Compare all of this to owning a car; possessing a car can be essential to modern living, but practically useless without a current driver's license. You probably have a good brain, but your potential can only expand with its proper usage!
Will you stay tuned for more lessons?
© 2018 Alexander James Guckenberger