Philosophy – the lost art
Stress levels are at all time highs. We don’t have a moment to think, let alone act to change our lives. Perhaps if we did we would come to the conclusion that this was all part of the plan? But are we more stressed than ever because of our working environments, the jobs we are doing, and their increasing demand on our time? Yes, these are most definitely factors, but lets look back at the lives of our ancestors and the things they had to endure. Famines, plagues, and wars, there lives were filled with far greater horrors than ours yet many of them managed to endure.
The issue is not what we are being asked to endure so much as the bombardment of new things that are being constantly thrown at us. Half the fault lies in our half-a-job education system and broken family units that leaves most of us under-prepared mentally for enduring hardship. Throughout school I always had the opinion of philosophy that it was just the less accurate precursor to science and that it was as outdated as a trebuchet or using leeches to drain blood. I don’t think I was alone in this opinion either. In truth while certain schools of philosophy were replaced by science such as metaphysics those such as ethics and morality were left to the philosophers.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Without philosophy or religion, science has failed to provide a suitable substitute. We may not need a book to develop a moral code but we do need guidance. A strong understanding of morality, good and evil, and living well is not something we can passively pick up. We must be taught how to and to our ancestors this is the role philosophy played . How can the school system possibly expect us to learn if we have not even been taught how to think first? And how can we be happy if we have no understanding of what this even means?