Sunday, 20 January 2013

I'm not much of a philosopher

There is no denying that I think deeply on a range of existential subjects as I try to plumb the depths of truth about human experience and the universe in which we exist. (That is, of course, assuming we exist at all.) In spite of these tendencies, I am not comfortable with the idea of being described as a philosopher.

In the first case, I do not have anywhere near the requisite level of academic experience for anyone to possibly take me seriously as a philosopher. For me, the title implies a person who is not only wise and insightful, but also who has done a great deal of research and is capable of remarkable feats in the arena of arguing a point.

Beyond that, I think of myself as a man of action, and if I do anything that resembles philosophising, it is with the overriding purpose of achieving practical results in the real world. Metaphysics, excursions into the complexities of logic, and similar preoccupations are very interesting and may or may not enable an individual to satisfactorily make sense of his or her experiences. The search for meaning is a fundamental human imperative, and I for one think it is very important for people to find it.

But I also believe that the meaning of life is quite straightforward, and the way to attain what is important is by applying oneself in practical ways, rather than by practising argumentative gymnastics. (Mind you, if philosophy itself is what gives someone a sense of fulfilment, then indulging in it is just as valid an application of effort as any other.)

I have nothing against abstractions, but I would not describe myself as a champion of them -- for all my idealism and openmindedness, I live in the real world. My objective is to help others, and although words and concepts comprise the vehicle by which I make my way towards this goal, I am fully convinced that action is the key which unlocks the door at our destination.