Issue How relevant is philosophy in this day and age when life is fast and there is little time to stop and ponder?
What is your philosophy in life? Answers abound. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Eat drink and be merry.” “Do things in moderation.” “Enjoy life to the maximum, for you live only once.”
Once a highly venerated subject, philosophy today has undergone changes to acquire an earthly, mundane tone. Its meaning has been diluted to imply just a belief or a way of life. Philosophising, like the word moralising, has even stooped to acquire sardonic connotations.
The word philosophy originated from the Greek ‘philosophia’ which means love of wisdom. Philosophy is too deep, reflective and intense a topic to put in a nutshell. However, it’s an overwhelming and intriguing subject that explores not just the external world but even the inner recesses of your heart. Philosophical discussions are thus wide and unlimited. They range from general public debates to intimate heart-to-heart dialogues between friends, lovers and soul mates.
World Philosophy Day is observed today the third Thursday of every November. It is a day to honour the great philosophical revelations and ideas that made the world a better place. It is also the day to freely and frankly share, discuss and exchange beliefs, ideas and values.
However, does philosophy have any relevance in modern times? Does its principles and values hold good in this fast-paced techie age?
“Sure, it does”, affirms Dr.Hemjith Balakrishnan, a post-graduate rank holder with a doctorate in philosophy who is a corporate head of a pharmaceutical company, “Applying the laws of philosophy in today’s corporate world is the key to a successful organisation. The modern world seems complex, but everything we practise and follow today including corporate ethics has its roots in ancient philosophy. Spirituality is a major factor in philosophy. Philosophy is only a search for knowledgeto lead a better life.
“The aim of philosophy is to lead a better and fulfilled life through methods and practices ideal for the individual. It gives fulfilment as one has the freedom to choose one’s own philosophical path, for it invites you to different schools of thought.”
Philosophy is not mere abstractions, daydreaming and hollow ideas full of sound and fury signifying nothing. On the contrary, it is an academic discipline that blends judgement, logic and reason along with mysticism and intuition. Its focus on analytical thinkingand rationalising is as important in today’s world than ever.
Philosophy and science
Philosophical and scientific methods thus go hand in hand arriving at a common truth. And if we comprehend the teachings of the ancient philosophers, it is said everything from the formation of governments, to the implementation of law, medical ethics, trade and commerce structure to computer software has its roots in philosophy.
How does philosophy work? Dr. Biju K.P, Asst.Professor of Philosophy at Kerala Varma College, Thrissur says, “Philosophy attempts to unravel the mystery of life. Everybody has his/her own unique and individual perspective on matters spiritual, political, social etc. Man is a rational being. He is always in a moral dilemma. Does God exist? What is the meaning of life?
“In their quest for answers to such issues philosophers examine, explore and question their own beliefs and attitudes. Philosophy is about challenging long held ideologies and facts. Constant and continuous seeking, doubting, clarifying and reasoning narrows the quest. Through this process of analysis and judgement, philosophers try to prove the veracity of their ideas and concepts and discover basic and fundamental truths.”
Philosophy thus is aesthetically reasoning life where truth and scepticism form both sides of the coin. Social, art and cultural movements are the result of philosophical investigations. It transports one to an exalted, lofty state of mind. A subject both sublime and practical, philosophy helps cope with relationships, business enterprises, marriage, old-age, pain, suffering.
So if you find yourselves trapped in your own beliefs or cannot explain basic facts of life, delve deep into the works of the great philosophers and find answers to life. Bring about a positive transformation in your lives.