I have studied philosophy for about ten or more years and still come up with different definitions. The core definition is "the love of wisdom", to me it is not a core paraphrase too a universal discipline. There is material wisdom and divine wisdom, totally two separate words. Philosophy seems to be different peoples definitions and understanding of general life. Is it possible for one to live there philosophy and not become mesmerized by it (excluding the word charismatic)?
Philosophy is a material discipline, where I believe psychology is more in tune with the spiritual aspect of life. The words I use are not in any way linquistical but straight out words without any interpreting of any kind. I have found out it is extremely hard to go from man made disciplines to spiritual disciplines. Paul
There is a method to all this madness - Philosophy embraces (in western terms ) the following Aesthetics, Ethics ,Philology and Epistemology ,. This is the thinking part . Ethics is the Practice of Philosophy .
It shows how the above are realted as Science and Art as Jurisprudence (ie Judgement and Reason), Wisdom,
A good introduction to Philosophy is to go at it not at random and anachronistically but in a very structured way .
Modern Philosophy cannot be understood if one dives into it - The Dialogues of Plato have to be read and understood and a firm grip got on how thinking or the "Rise of the age of Reason" started and what were the methods and purposes . It is all well to phoo phoo all this and DIve into Spinoza, Descartes,Berkeley, Hume and others , but still it would be incomplete without a reading of Platos Dialogues - you can skip Republic as it is of a higher nature which will evolve later . Anothet book which is a very good summary and a classic is "The History of Philosophy" by Will Durand - it is in every sense of the word a classic . So you will ahve a basic idea of the life and times and the centre of point that various people have tackled this subject - But It would do very well to keep a copy of the Ethics By aristotle (Also called the Nichomachaen Ethics ) and practise it assiduously - you will not find a better book , It is the bedrock of Philosophy - never read critical essays by people on Philosophers until after you have read the philosopher himself since the critical essays block a persons intiiative and put in anachronistic views by people who are just that much and will amount to nothing more in life.Understand the ideas behind Aesthetics, Epistemology,Logic and Philology - do not learn them but see how it has been applied by different philosophers . Philosophy normally begins where religion ends , but does not exclude it - yet most philosophers have transcended religion . Again understand that From the Universal to the particular is how Philosophy works and not the other way around - The rounding off is done in the last stage where Purposive action or Practical Philosophy is discussed . Never listen to anyones ideas of Philosophy(including mine ) It is a life long practice of thinking and living the experience .Nature , Man and the World are the subjects of philosophy and no philosophy is complete in Western thinking without these . and it is so as it should be . You cannot mix superstitions from religion into
this science which teaches the way our mind and intellect and feelings work and how to get them to intutively work together . If you have ideas of materialism and spirituality then you are doomed in Philosophy proper . If you interpret rather than "understand" your experiences you are doomed to ignorance , this happens even in ordinary life.
You have too many pre concieved notions as to what spiritualism or materialism or the divine and psychology and what not . An open mind and approaching the subject relying on the writer without questioning is a pre requiste in the intial stages to get a hang of it and its method , the ares covered and the results obtained . "If you believe" in anything you are doomed , you have to learn to abstract knowledge -it is an intensely intellectual way , - belief , opinion, faith etc are not truth and so unreliable . YOu have to approach the subject in all humility not religiosity . If the path of knowledge is not good enough try the path of faith but not religiosity , there are millions of autobiographies and biographies of saints . Read them and understand the intensity and severity of the purpose of those great souls to themselves.
Rosicrucianism , Hermeticsm, Templars or Lodges, Freemasonery, Scientology , Modern Theosophy , Materialism , Magic ,Alchemy.,Creationism. Idealism, Scepticsm, Existentialism ,Pessimism , Utopianism and a whole lot things are streams of thought are not strictly Philosophy , Philosophy is a very high Subject and not an adjective - It is not esoteric, Mystic or Occult - the connections to all the tributaries will become clear when you have been a successful adherent of Pure philosophy .If you ask me what the above tributaries are they are just spin offs by sects and people within whom language had not developed nor right reason and thinking in the case of the Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians and a whole lot of dead civilizations. To dig in the relics of those religions is not Philosophy but a happy hobby to satisfy the self importance. You have to learn to see what your feelings covey to you as an idea and not just "think" it means what you think it to be or in other ways "interpret' feelings . It will not help . Feelings can only be understood correctly if one has discipline to oneself and not to the body . Show me one man made discipline and I will show you a liar .
Subtletey in thinking is what is required and ability to think for oneself correctly not just pick up ideas from the bazaar and inhale the stench as if it were perfume or oxygen itself .If you want science then you cannot have philosophy , there is no Science of Philosophy or wisdom it is the science itself and it is man himself .
Somewhere within yourself there are the stirrings of philosophy - the essentials are there in the question itself - it is evident . the essentials are in the question nothing is lacking that is required for Philosophy, so it shows a very unstructured and very thought process has been used without really understanding the ethos of Philosophy maybe you are not familiar with the writings of Plato ? There is no western reason without Plato , the faculty for assimilating deeper truths arose with the Greeks in the Western world and so it is still called the "Age of Reason" the ages prior to that are known as the "Dark Ages" to those who know. It is a watershed period not for human thinking but western thinking that they acquired and evolved the ability to reason and judge correctly . It is a fact of history and of the growth of intelligence in man .
Dinosaurs could not reason , you have to understand hoe reason arose in the human mind how it has evoleved up to todays level of intelligence , the evolution has to be keenly followed to understand the importance and to eliminate anachronisms in thought. If you think about a a spaceship and its technology and then wonder about cows and cattle and call it abstraction or thinking you are wrong - Time has to be chronological in every thought after which only thinking and abstraction can be done correctly - the last two are gained to not born to .then the ideas represented by objects and words as feelings will become clear and no interpretations will be required , knowledge has to work for knowledge there is no other way to think correctly. These are not my opinions they are the truths which have stood the test of time .
Well said. Excellent point. There is material knowledge and divine knowledge. Divine knowledge can be found in material knowledge (if one knows where to look). I have had a bad time with the word (interpret). My argument is why couldn't the ancient writers just write there beliefs straight on and not write (in between the lines)? Then there's the question,where does thought and reason come from? History, a divine source people or experience? How does one who has been enlightened by divine source explain to others what it was like? Paul
Dear Paul ,
You have answered all the questions yourself again, so do not be hasty and write as soon as you have a doubt , in the initial stages doubt arises as a result of deliberation only not otherwise , you have to see it in the light of history also and the development of thought , the ancients or what we call them basically if you look at it - the first philosophers were also poets - it is a very rare combination to have Poet - Philosophers . in fact every country has epics and other things and the stirrings of morality and philosophy of living have come from them . The latin language also - I mean the classical period had poet philosophers , but in really significant terms only two are really considered as Poet Philosophers and tyhey are Homer of Greece and Veda Vyasa from the present India , The first Poet Philosopher who preceded them was Valmiki , there have not been any poet philosophers since then with the exception of Goethe from the German nation who is not just a Laureate but an actual Poet -Philosopher in our modern times he is the real bridge between the old and new - for he has attained in parts in his writings the knowledge content equivalent to the preceding persons as well as the fact that he was in a time where Modern Philosophy had developed and Statesmanship and the art and aesthetics of Poetry - these are the Epic poets . IT was all visions and feelings and understanding which makes it complex to understand well ,The ancients have very simply put down what they know , in the language and knowledge , you have to appreciate the fact and wonder how is it that these voluminous knowledge has come down to us , there was not printing in those times , it was by memory and parables and subject to the manipulations of later generations who tried to "interpret" knowledge which is avery dangerous and counter productive thing . In the Latin world it was Virgil , Dante Alligherii was a great poet but not much of philosophy was there by the benchmarks in human terms and its evolution . The ancients did not hide anything , what we call esoteric today is because of our lack of sublimity in understanding the originals and so we pervert them to suit modern understanding . Thought and reason precedes perception , we come to know of these faculties when an object has been seen or perceieved by us and internalized. History is of mans makings and not divine . No man made object is divine - but all natural phenomena are divine . Man made objects are objects of utility only nothing more , to get at the divine behind the man made objects one has to se the intelligence behind man made objects - trace it to man and then trace it to natural phenomena since man is a natural phenomena himself - this is correct abstraction , and ideanation in Philosophy . One so to say looks at the phenomena which is naturally and non man made and ascertains the divinity behind it as an aid to understanding Divinity . So when you see a Tree and think it is God it is not true it is a dangerous delusion brought on by too much drinking or fantasizing or imagining . If you see it as atoms or molecules you are equally crazy . Atoms and molecules are only an indication of matter existing in other forms and the possibilty of matter being broken down into its basic building blocks which is Science , but the divine knowledge has to be extracted from this worldly knowledge mainly that if the cause has become tree , then the proof of its having become a tree through transformation is a distinct possibilty , so now you have a hypothesis or an indication of the nature of the infinite that mainly it has the power to transform itself into different objects (or a tree - note it is only power not the infinite - and this is its nature not nature as we say nature ). through various levels it becomes a name and form (which is tree in this case ). etc etc is the way of thinking and it has to be rooted in reality , till one is by right reason convinced that all this is one (including oneself) and one is not anything other than the infinite . This understanding will give you the confirmatory experience which will settle all doubts . But you have to live ethically . Mere understanding of what I have written is not enough , in which case everyone would be liberated . I hope you have been answered to in part and full , and explanation is not lacking , nor any doubts remain . It is like the father saying to the totally wayward son - "one day you will understand when you see it as a father" - Definitly the father is correct , the son does not yet know he will once he becomes a father and despair at that time he was noy understanding enough to have divined his fathers words ,. Keep it simple .
Excellent piece. You are a inspiration to me. I seek your wisdom out of envy. I am proud to call you my friend. Peace. Paul