Philosophy in Your Personal Life
As a distinguished American philosopher, Williams James put it: "A man with no philosophy in him is the most inauspicious and unprofitable of all social mates." Fortunately, all rational human beings have the seed of philosophy in their hearts. Philosophy is often thought as an extremely esoteric, abstract, and specialized subject that has little to do with the rest of our lives. This is simply untrue. In reality, each one of us deals with philosophy everyday. Philosophy begins with wonder. We have all been touched and moved by the feeling of wonderment from which philosophy drives:
- We wonder about who we really are, why we are here, and what the meaning of our lives is.
- We wonder whether God exists. If yes, why pain, evil, and sorrow flourish?
- We wonder whether science can tell us all there really is to know about the universe.
- We wonder whether there is an after-life.
- We wonder what true happiness, love and friendship are.
- We wonder what a good life is and how we can live a good life.
- We wonder whether we are ever free to make our own decisions or whether we really have free will.
- We wonder why we should be moral; what determine morally right or wrong, by God, by society, or by personal taste?
- We wonder whether suicide, abortion, or euthanasia is ever justified.
- We wonder why we are wondering ... so and so on.
Philosophy tries to answer those wonders, which shows us that the basic ideas of philosophy are familiar to all of us, even if we have not yet formally confronted the problems. In this sense, every rational human being is a philosopher to a certain degree. Watch yourself in a crisis, or listen to yourself in an argument with a friend. Notice how quickly abstract philosophical concepts like "freedom", "mankind", "self-identity", "human nature", "reality", "truth", "morally right", "human right", etc., enter our thoughts and our conversations. We all have some opinions about God, about morality and its principles, about human nature. Therefore, philosophy is not just in philosophy books. Your personal life is saturated with philosophy.