Why bother with philosophy? What’s the point of all of this? That’s a good question.
To answer, we must ask another question: What do all philosophies and religions of the world have in common? They attempt to make the practitioner happy, or the practitioner attempts to use it to find or achieve happiness, whatever that is.
PHILOSOPHY IS ABOUT MAKING YOU HAPPY.
At the end, it’s all about you. You want to be happy, or in other words, you want to chill. These different philosophies or religions try to bring that about in different ways. A common problem with people, or what seems to be a common problem, is the finite nature of life. Life is full of misery and suffering, and no matter how good your intentions are, everything you do or build or attain is not going to matter to YOU once you die. This leads to a feeling that it’s all pointless, and everyone has this fear that “no one is taking care of ME at the end of the day.”
AND THIS IS A FACT YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
Well, that’s where this philosophy stuff comes in. People need to believe that there is something out there, that they will be taken care of, that there is a way to live that makes all this pain worth a damn. And that’s where a God or a neat set of instructions is invaluable in assuaging this fear of existential confusion. “Thank God that God is there, that there is SOMEONE watching over this shit and will protect me from evil, and preserve my soul, and etc. etc.,” you’ve heard this rap before.
Well, none of these things are very useful unless you realize one important thing: YOU are responsible for how YOU see the world. Everything else is just someone else’s word. EVERYTHING. And to my mind, the most useful philosophies (religious or not) push you to understand this: YOU are responsible for your actions and thoughts. Sure, you might read a book and follow what it says, but do you truly UNDERSTAND the intention of the practice it preaches?
Hence, I advocate the pursuit of philosophy for everyone. By examining the material already available, and by examining your own experiences and insights, and tossing it all up and thinking about it, eventually you will settle on a model of perception that makes complete sense to you. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG way of doing things. All you know for sure is what YOU think, and you are wholly responsible for that.
So you don’t have to take for granted whatever is said by priests, or gurus, or scientists, or blogs like this one: YOU HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT FOR YOURSELF. Unless you achieve the mental state of understanding of ANY concept, you just won’t get it. You can’t know anything unless you experience knowing it, and everything else is just someone else’s opinion. Like when the Oracle tells Neo it’s like being in love (that clip is linked at the bottom, in case you want to see it again).
The very first thing to figure out is this: that YOU have to figure it out for yourself. The rest will then take care of itself. And when you figure it out for yourself, whatever it may be, you can chill out much more because you’re not worrying about what it’s all about. And that leads to happiness. YOU MUST START WITH YOURSELF. If you choose philosophy, it means that you want to be happy. But what you may find is that along the way to this vague goal, your definition of happiness changes. Don’t be frightened of that, it’s all part of the process of personal evolution.