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Does Philosophy Have a Purpose?

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posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 03:48 PM
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[font=Impact][size=10]Does Philosophy Have a Purpose?[/font]




Philosophy. Figuratively, it means “love of wisdom”; literally, it means absolutely nothing. What is love? What is wisdom? The philosopher doesn’t know, and if you don’t want to hear his opinion on the matter, you probably shouldn’t ask. As a word, it’s too abstract. And as a practice? Too impractical. Philosophy is without glory or charm; it is without financial reward; it is like body-odor to a romantic evening.

A lover of wisdom you say? Love of his own wisdom to be sure. What else can the philosopher know? Everyone has, as deep as their language will allow, wondered about something besides themselves, and have forged for themselves ideas about the nature of that which they wonder about. We are all philosophers. It is our function; it is our vocation; it is our purpose to deposit meaning where we see fit; it is our nature—we all love our own wisdom.

It can be conceived as a paradox that the greatest philosopher who ever set foot on this earth was so anti-authority, so autonomous, so sovereign, and so indifferent to the abstractions of men, that he wouldn’t dare speak a word of philosophy in fear of becoming what he isn’t, leaving us not a shred of his golden insight. Luckily, philosophers are not merely lovers of their own wisdom. At core they are artists; and like any artist, like any human, the philosopher wants nothing more than to share what he’s created. Even the most humble of men put their names on what they create.

Philosophy, in its historical sense, is the the stem from which all branches of thought have grown. It is the tree itself, the tree of knowledge and bearer of great and dangerous fruits. It is the soil of our culture—our politics, our art, our math, our science, our religion—everything we call “knowledge” has arisen from a little language, a little childish curiosity, and the need to express it artistically.

But what purpose does this vain pursuit of wisdom, truth, enlightenment and happiness offer us but to curb our own self-satisfying desire to express reality how we see it, through our eyes and out through our own words? Perhaps there is more. Perhaps the words we leave behind touches someone or inspires them in such a way that they see their own wide gradient of possibilities and power. Perhaps a new movement is grown on a set of principles. Perhaps expression itself is our purpose, and the philosopher is taking his purpose as far as he can. Perhaps, despite our words, all is lost.

What happens when we don’t give ourselves a moment to think? Quite obviously we stop thinking—at least for ourselves. We go on autopilot as if we were well trained enough to do so. Indeed, we are well trained, domesticated if you will, led by a harness in a sort of way that negates the opportunity to stop and think and to become wild within the chaos of our own thoughts again. These days, the philosopher in us is suppressed and we become content enough to be spoon fed thoughts and ideas by our televisions and devices. Not a moment to think any longer.

To breathe, the philosopher needs to think. We all need to stop and think. We all need philosophy. But what purpose is philosophy now that it has branched into the sciences, into the religions, and all foundations from which we derive our insights? Nothing left but a shell, a history, “a series of footnotes to Plato”, and a practice now left only to professors, priests, and those who can afford the time and leisure to think profoundly. What use is this shell?

The philosopher still has a use—he has had the same purpose since Thales. Essentially, the philosopher is the critic of culture—the religion, language, science, metaphysics, mathematics, psychology and politics of any society. The philosopher must do what he has always done—criticize the culture he finds himself in right down to its very foundations and axioms, to expose what leads us astray.

What philosophy creates comes second to what it destroys. Only after an idea has withstood the criticism of philosophers does it earn a right in our hearts and mind, in our very culture. Look at our culture! Where are our philosophers? Criticism is discouraged in favour of apathy; skepticism is vilified in favour of conviction; life is a game and not an adventure; an active curiosity is not left to roam free, to create from the chaos, but is guided at every turn and stumble. No one wants to know anymore. No one needs the philosopher anymore. For that, philosophy still has a purpose.

***



Friends, this marks LesMisanthrope’s final thread and departure from ATS. I do not have the opportunities to perpetuate his character on these boards any longer. I hope, to some, that he was a good enemy; and to others, maybe even a comrade. However the painting is finished. Timid brush stroke after timid brush stroke must, at some point, end. Like all of those we read, we must say goodbye when we put the book down with the comfort of knowing they still live among the words within.

Farewell,





posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 04:13 PM
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This was a well written and thoughtful post.



Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

To breathe, the philosopher needs to think. We all need to stop and think. We all need philosophy. But what purpose is philosophy now that it has branched into the sciences, into the religions, and all foundations from which we derive our insights? Nothing left but a shell, a history, “a series of footnotes to Plato”, and a practice now left only to professors, priests, and those who can afford the time and leisure to think profoundly. What use is this shell?


Philosophy is thinking: real thinking. It's when you sit back and rest (as you suggest) and take an independent look at the world around you, question it, work through your questions and see what you come up with. A child can do this, or a 74-year-old retired professor and scholar of many fields. No one can tie it down to science or religion; you don't need a degree or the right beliefs to be a philosopher; all you need the world's rarest thing: a brain.

Throughout human history, all around the world, those who thought independently have been killed, imprisoned, monitored, chastised or outcasted. The rare few fortunate enough to get away with it are the privileged few: elitists who have enough power and connections to protect themselves. Otherwise, thinkers who align themselves with the right crowds. Take Farley Mowat, a much-liked Canadian author who speaks about animal and environmental concerns. Back in the 80's he was denied access to the United States and discovered that he was on a watch list. Why? Because he had thoughts and shared them!


The secret that we're not supposed to know is that words, ideas, change the world: the pen is mightier than the sword. Sometimes you're well-hidden (or protected) if you "jump on-board the bandwagon " of a particular intellectual movement (or appear to.) Otherwise, it's dangerous. What's the current bandwagon? Poison in our water. Genetically modified foods. Less fatty foods all together. Transhumanism. Departmentalization. Micromanagement. Secret surveillance of the public. And, of course, the global domination by corporate empires. These days the Powers That Be are quite powerful and they need every aspect of society on board: science, education, governments, media and even, yes, the intellectual crowd. What better way to subvert independent thought than to force it under the scrutiny of the scientific (pragmatic) perspective because very few of our thoughts can be proven factual (at least not after a great deal of research?)

Thank you for bringing this up. It's an important topic. We have to keep thinking and expressing independent thoughts!



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 04:18 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


I clicked on this thread, as I do when I see that you are the author, I am sorry to see you leave, and I hope that maybe sometime you can come by and say hello.

You have brought lots of thought invoking threads and posts, and I hope that your journey is filled with love, laughter, and forgiveness.

Farewell Friend,
NoRegretsEver.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 05:44 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

You are leaving.
May you find greatness in your grain of truth.
As you so wish then, the journey is ahead.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 05:51 PM
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Philosophy helps the growth and depth of one's understanding of what they experience and imagine. It's to exercise comprehension and intuitive thoughts. If philosophy had a home it would be either be in the third eye chakra. IMO.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 





Does Philosophy Have a Purpose?


Sure, intellectual masterbation is it's own reward.

A bit pointless if you are leaving the boards but here's another S&F for your impressive collection.

Thanks for the stimulation!! Adios.....



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 07:02 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

A lover of wisdom you say? Love of his own wisdom to be sure. What else can the philosopher know?


What else, you ask? Divine Wisdom, of course. Sophia. As in, Philo- Sophia (lover of Sophia)

Consider this video a parting gift from me to you.



edit on 5-8-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 07:03 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope

And may the creator of LesMisanthrope fare well!

I was furiously thinking of something intelligent to contribute to your last thread, about consciousness, to then suddenly be bid fare well.

It made me wonder how the conversation between the creator of LesMisanthrope and the character went.

From the 1989 movie Parenthood, (I couldn't find a youtube clip)

Stan: You don't talk like a kid.

Young Gil Buckman: Yeah, well I'm not really a kid.

Stan: You're not a doc.

Young Gil Buckman: This is a memory of when I was a kid. I'm 35 now. I have kids of my own. You don't even really exist. You're an amalgam.

Stan: A what?

Young Gil Buckman: A combination of several ushers my dad left me with over the years. I combined them into one memory.

Stan: Why?

Young Gil Buckman: This was a great symbolic moment of my life. My father dumping me with you... it's why I swore things would be different with my kids. It's my dream. Strong, happy, confident kids.

Stan: That's great, that's great. You know, you - you got a lovely family, and I'm a god-damn amalgam!

imdb quotes



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Q: "Does Philosophy Have a Purpose?"
A: "I'll let you know once I'm done reading this book on nihilism. But then again... what would be the point?"



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 07:27 PM
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The Purpose of Philosophy is
the same as the purpose of Theology, and Spirituality.

That is to try and sit in Judgement of the Soul
but to always fail and create hell instead.






How do I say this?
What possible proof could a few minatures
of the ancient Chinese Judge-of-the-dead Yama,
have to do with all of Philosophy being a mere attendant?













Well consider the picture in the opening post.

The thinking man, by Rodin,
a master sculptor if I may say so.

But where is the rest of the piece?
The whole sculpture.

Did you know that that Thinking Man
is actually sitting on top of the Gate to Hell?




See him up there just at the top of the doors?


The doors of hell.


Detail of The Gates of Hell.




Mike
edit on 5-8-2013 by mikegrouchy because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 07:36 PM
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Same purpose as having a purpose.

/namasalute
edit on 5-8-2013 by BardingTheBard because:




posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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Somebody (everybody?) needs to organize their thinking as to this life that we find ourselves living---what it is, why we act or don't, how we should treat ourselves and others, how different actions are justifiable or not, what evidence or logic do we use/have to convince ourselves and others. Stuff of the greatest importance--how should we live our lives! Got to have Philosophers.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 08:44 PM
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It depends which philosophy you live by.

Nihilism - No purpose.

Hedonism - Personal Happiness

Utilitarianism - Being useful to others, working together.

Monism - Feeling oneness, unity.

Dualism - Trying to keep individuality, differences alive by disagreeing with others and creating opposites.


edit on 5-8-2013 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 09:06 PM
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Philosophy....the big party pooper.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 11:01 PM
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of course it has a purpose!

i'm only ever serious when i'm being sillyphosical..



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 11:09 PM
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Sorry to see you leave. Agree... disagree... there were few occasions where I didn't respect and appreciate your insights.

Best wishes on your continued exploration of this experience that we call life.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 11:13 PM
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For me it allows say two people who have different problems and ethical beliefs to solve these problems together. Sometimes the associations each person has towards words and events can create such large gaps that using symbolism and discussion of a philosophical nature is the best way to work around these differences.
I am somewhat dissapointed your last thread is going out like this. Where is the big thread titled "My last thread" where you tell the story how ATS has become this and that, whilst being critical of the spiring intellect of mankind. Juzt kidding



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 11:17 PM
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My stepfather, a professor of Philosophy, claims that philosophy is necessary for people to learn how to think. How to reason, how to construct an idea... these things are necessary before even beginning to build anything in this world.

I find this exit of yours strange, it reminds me of ones I did years ago, when I was not being totally authentic online yet. Characters were hard to carry indefinately on boards. That may or may not have anything at all in common with your reasons, but it is the closest I came to being able to empathize.
Take care! I've enjoyed your contributions!



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
My stepfather, a professor of Philosophy, claims that philosophy is necessary for people to learn how to think. How to reason, how to construct an idea... these things are necessary before even beginning to build anything in this world.


+1 you hit it on the head


phi·los·o·phy - [fi-los-uh-fee]
noun, plural phi·los·o·phies.

1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
3. a particular system of thought based on such study or investigation: the philosophy of Spinoza.
4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.
5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by LoneCloudHopper2
 


I agree,...
When one speaks of philosophy...one is really speaking of the current thoughts of philosophy,... meaning that philosophy is really the current "mental pulse" of the minds of humans that take the time to think emphatically about subjects that humans have in common...it is kind of a "clear-headed zeitgeist"






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