Probably, all of us philosophers have to regularly answer questions such as – “What do you need this philosophy for?”. Today I am asking myself that same question – why do I need it in life? what has it taught me?
And since it has taught me quite a few things, I will list some of them here:
– what is my Sun and which are my planets
– karmic “banking”
– spiritual math
– to operate my internal machines
– to welcome, and to say goodbye
– that the biggest acquisition is giving
From everyday math (including academic math), we have learned that three is more than one and a hundred is more than twenty. We are so used to the superiority of the quantitative that we are keen to accept something as true, simply because many people see it as true and only a few claim the opposite.
Philosophy has taught me that the truth is not a matter of quantity, but of quality. The important truths in life are not potatoes and cannot be measured with the material scale.
Philosophy has taught me that a single person with the Truth is a majority, regardless of the number of people believing the wrong.
…to operate my internal machines
In their life, each person realises that they need training in order to learn to operate any type of instrument or machine: from a toothbrush to a car.
Philosophy has taught me that there exist internal instruments and machines that we are far from utilizing fully. It could be said that this is similar to owning the most expensive camera but only photographing in auto mode – sometimes it takes nice pictures, sometimes ugly ones, and most often – ones in the grey area of mediocrity.
Philosophy has helped me to know my instruments – imagination, memory, attention, as well as the biggest potentials – justice, self-control, love, intelligence, discipline, moderation etc. It continues to teach me to develop them and to enhance their use in everyday practice. Today I am in “manual mode” and the “pictures”, although not yet ready for an exhibition, are becoming clearer and clearer.
From economic banking we know that many things require payment, that there are “discounts” and “promotions” but unfortunately also theft, fraud and “diversion of cash flows without the knowledge of shareholders”.
Philosophy has taught me that in the banking of life, where the payment methods are our energy, our happiness, our knowledge, our relationships etc., there is one simple rule: sooner or later we will pay the price for everything that we have done, said or thought… Or for what we haven’t done, said, thought, although we could have – even without anyone knowing about it (for better or worse).
Philosophy has taught me to pay with modesty and generosity without accusing the karmic “bankers” of injustice. It has also taught me to take payments with gratitude without expecting them or requiring them.
…to welcome, and to say goodbye
Every person, living their own personal life, welcomes many new people, events, places, tasks, opportunities, challenges… We react to them as “unexpected” (The kid is all grown up now!), “shocking” (There is snow outside!), “suspicion” (He is smiling!), and “unfortunate” (It is Monday again…). In short – we don’t welcome the majority of them in a normal way, let alone with a positive attitude.
Philosophy has taught me to expect more and more new things in my life. It has revealed to me that I don’t live on an island but on the sea. Since I am on a ship, I am sailing every day and every night… and there is no way for me to not encounter new views. It has taught me that I can have Faith and be grateful for what is coming my way. Philosophy has taught me to see opportunities and to hold onto them. It is useful, as you can look back and not feel remorse…
It has taught me that some things and some people come into our life only for a certain period or for a certain lesson – and when it is over, they are gone… There is no point in worrying, but rather – I have to be grateful for the lessons. At a later stage, philosophy has also shown me that I am the one calling and attracting some things and some people into my life, and therefore I will add the lesson to be careful about what I think and what I wish for… And so, I now know that a person never misses in life what he most truly desires, or what he most greatly fears.
…that the biggest acquisition is giving
The material world makes us believe that we can acquire the most security and the most tranquillity by acquiring more and more things, more money, assets, possessions, etc. Philosophy has shown me – this is all an illusion. It has taught me that in this way I turn into a cat chasing its own tail – I have neither the prey, nor peace.
Philosophy has taught me to love rather than have a desire to be loved. Philosophy has taught me not to be afraid of giving. I discovered I had more than I thought, and that I even had things that I could never lose again.
…what is my Sun and which are my Planets
Many times in life we “shift our priorities”, sometimes as a result of an internal shift, a shift in our values, or sometimes because the people amongst us inspire us, encourage us or enthral us. We chase a career and everything else is on the back burner, we become “photographers”, “sportsmen” or “prophets” of a “healthy lifestyle” and everything else fades away; or we become “experts in good movies” and all other occupations are only secondary; we fall in love and the axis of our lives shifts to another person, we become parents and “the meaning” of life becomes our kids… until they grow up and we start searching again.
Philosophy has shown me what is the Sun of my life and which are the planets around it. It showed me which is my star-axis and that all the rest will revolve around it: people, work, cities, hobbies, apartments, entertainment… Some will remain in their orbit for a lifetime, some for many years, and some only for months. Philosophy has taught me to not turn any of my planets into a star if I want to be truly happy, and also to not turn the Star into a planet if I don’t want to be permanently unhappy.
The Star is my Spiritual Life and my aspiration to achieve it, to learn to live as a philosopher, to evolve as a philosophical disciple, as a conscious human being. This is the Star, about which in a mysterious text is written that “life after life I will find it in the exact same place” – “the most still” and “the most unchangeable Star” – my Spiritual Ideal.
Philosophy has taught me so many other things: to believe in goodness, despite the worsening world circumstances; to believe in people, without being naive; to not rely on others where I can manage by myself; not to put my happiness into what does not depend on me; and so many other things… but let’s keep them for next time.
And the last lesson: philosophy has taught me to be grateful, because with many things I cannot manage by myself. I thank all the Teachers in my life, who have led me and keep leading me in this Journey of Wisdom, which we call Philosophy. I thank them for all the suffering that I have evaded with their advice and for all the Treasures, which I found with their guidance.
Philosophy is Love. Philosophy is Everything.
Image Credits: By Yusuke Furuya | Pexels | CC BY PDThe entity posting this article assumes the responsibility that images used in this article have the requisite permissions