Is Philosophy Really Worth Our Time!?
The study of philosophy serves many practical uses to us individually, granting insight into own inner life, allowing us to better ourselves intellectually and emotionally, and revealing the beauty of our world through the cultivation of worldview. However, this source of profit goes mostly untapped in present-day society, as philosophy is often thought of as a pretentious and worthless form of literature embodying no significance to practical life. Long-ingrained, inaccurate beliefs stigmatizes the role of philosophy, considering individuals are rarely taught the potential in studying philosophy. Instead of fearing the possibility of appearing pretentious, we should encourage ourselves to experiment with philosophy as a source of personal discovery and self-improvement.
A bustling, endless stream of quotidian palaver intricately coupled with the stress of work, the constraints of time-management, and the frustration of unresolved conflicts appears to prohibit us from reading anything for pleasure. However, short periods of time dedicated for casual reading of philosophical literature help us think about situations in our lives to which we want resolution. Think of it as a meditative strategy for dealing with occurring issues such as dissatisfaction in relationships, finding love for one’s self, or understanding what drives us to be happy. Studying the literature of Franz Kafka may help us cope with the confusion, frustration, and absurdities we face daily. The literature of Martin Heidegger reminds us to live freely, and to enjoy every moment we are alive. Philosophy helps us cope with the complexities in our lives, and allows us to reflect on how we deal with practical situations which arise in our everyday lives.
The astronomically huge, unanswerable questions of no apparent practical importance are daunting. “Does life have a purpose?” “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Are we inherently flawed?” The ability to answer these questions with logical, well-thought out debate is not what philosophy is intended for. Philosophy is meant to be used to comprehend the outside world, not to enlighten the public with “universal truth”. And through the cultivation of this worldview we widen our perspective, bettering ourselves intellectually and emotionally. Though it would seem as though learning more about the world would make the world seem more complex and entangled, learning philosophy simplifies the world for us: making it easier to achieve happiness and find purpose. In an immersion of philosophy, we train ourselves to think intellectually and logically on approaching situations, and better ourselves by learning the thoughts and ideas of the many contemplative scholars before our time.
Complete rejection of philosophy is—upon consideration of human nature—an impossible task to accomplish. We should face the fact that our active conscious is filled with confusing, complex thought and emotion. This consciousness is often overlooked though it defines the entirety of our personality. By studying philosophy, we saturate ourselves with concepts about our extraordinary universe, refining our best and worst features. By studying philosophy we learn to enjoy life at its fullest, and understand our faults in order to fix them. By studying philosophy we allow ourselves to tend to our own gardens, and cultivate a love of knowledge lost under the clutter and speed of everyday life.