What is Philosophy?

This may be the epitome of philosophy: questioning itself. But if you really look at the origins of philosophy, you find the answer is quite beautiful.

Unlike other disciplines like business or marketing that are concrete and tangible, philosophy is abstract. Philosophy started with wondering about life and the human condition.

But that’s not the beautiful part. The beautiful part is the goal of philosophy: to help each individual answer questions about self, life, religion, etc., for themselves! Instead, of merely being clones that rote memorize and recite what the world has told us philosophy helps us get our unique perceptive into the mix.

I mean after all there is no one that is you other than you; therefore, you are entitled to your perspective on what these difficult and abstract concepts mean to you in your life.

We may learn about famous people and their philosophical theories, but those theories are the product of philosophy. Philosophy is the activity that requires one to question all the assumptions they make about life, the world and themselves.

Philosophy is about the journey not the product that is brought back. Though tremendous insight can be found by reflecting and pondering the works of great philosophers before us, but there is always something lost in translation. They knew what they were trying to describe better than anyone else and even better than they could write it because words are limiting.

Words are what limits us from really describing what we truly mean precisely and the goal of philosophy is freedom.

But, one should not get caught up with comparing themselves and their philosophies to other people’s theories of the past or trying to convince people of your philosophies in the present.

Philosophy is not about other people (as selfish as that sounds) it is about discovering the views that most reflect your true self and are your own. Of course, by doing so and questioning yourself and being open to new ideas and different opinions, this will undoubtedly help you apply your philosophies to others, to help others, to understand and respect others for their unique perspective and life experience.

The goal of philosophy should never be to fight with others about how wrong they are but to look for truth: both truths that are true to you  and those that are true to the world as a whole.

No one can find THE truth, but you can find tiny truths along the way.

Knowing versus Perceiving Thyself?

People often say they know themselves. Others, are more skeptical to jump to such conclusions. But, what does it mean to know yourself?

Knowing yourself would involve knowing the mechanisms behind your behavior; it would be about the workings of the mind, the internal world, the body and whatever else is associated with our ideas of self.

This might be crudely possible. There are always parts of the mind though that really can’t be put into words, but regardless, what about perception?

If I stare at my dog and my dog stares back at me, what is truly going on? Well, for one and interaction is going on. We each are having an effect on one another. He is watching, or perceiving, me, and I him.

But, neither one of us are perceiving ourselves.

We go around the world observing, our eyes stare out at the world and at ourselves, or at least the parts we can see. My hands primarily are of great importance and usually highly involved in my field of vision, but so are my arms, torso, legs and feet.

But, let us pretend there are no mirrors of reflective surfaces in the world I live in, then what about the rest of my body? I am left to know them solely by touch and their motion.

Our world is becoming increasingly visual, but perception is not just about sight. It is our primary sense we use, but does that mean the others are less worthy of our respect. Moreover, what other worlds or mental, neural representations do these other senses map for us?

So, I guess my question of if we can perceive ourselves can be answered with the most famous answer in psychology, “Well, it depends.” If our definition of perception is visual then, no, we can never truly perceive ourselves. Mirrors don’t really reflect how you actually look and neither do videos, or pictures. There is always something missing from those forms and the forms of you viewed from the eyes of another person.

But, you can perceive yourself through sense of touch, which I would say is our second most used sense.

I’m curious for feedback on ranking our senses. My list would be:

  1. Sight
  2. Touch
  3. Hearing
  4. Taste
  5. Smell

Of course, each person’s answer should vary and there is no right or wrong answer.More interestingly, I am interested if there is some other abilities one might consider a sense, type of sense, or subset of a sense.

Thank you for reading.

Self-Reflections: Day 2

Today is a good day. I have lived many days and each possess their own stresses. But one thing is common among all stressors: they are perceived and processed within my mind alone. The stress is felt inside my body and doesn’t exist outside of me, externally in the outside world. Something is only stressful if it is perceived as stressful. Some might find stress everywhere by being aware of all the things that may go wrong. Others, may be blind to these hidden stressors and, consequently, feel no stress whatsoever. Much of stress is self-manufactured by worrying about “what if’s,”  but the solution is to focus on “what is.” What currently exists in our awareness is all we can truly be certain about. Also, the present is what we must go through to get to those someday “what if’s.” We can never escape the fact that we can only live on moment at a time and, within each moment, we can only live one thought at a time.