Why study philosophy
"We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it's our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and history of the world were written by the same hand" - The Alchemist.
I want you to look around. You may see your car like Tai Lopez, who keeps his books in his garage. Well, I still can't understand why he does it.
You may see your smartphone, your computer, your kitchen appliances, and your sofa around.
Now, I want you to remember the time when you each brought them. You went to the store or brought it online.
Did you get the manual for it? I remember getting a manual for dell mouse, and it was in each and every language imaginable. From Chinese to Korean. From English to French.
Here is my bomb question for you now, when you were born, did you get the manual? For how to live?
In my case, that hospital at Jaora (my birthplace) doesn't supply that. If that's the same case for you, then we have very little information on this. Only our parents think about what we should do. And some close friends who can inspire us.
But only living how your parents lived or how they say is a very narrow way of living life. And I always believe that we all have only one shot in this life. This is what and only we have.
From a very early age, when people learned that writing their thoughts helps them to have clearer thinking and can be preserved. We have a ton of classics and non-fiction books written about how they lived their life. Could you able to meet and ask one of the most significant Roman Emporers and Generals in history, Marcus Aurelius, how he had lived his life. And what should you do in your life?
I guess no. That's why. There are books (Meditations, series of letters, private notes, and thoughts on the Stoic philosophy that pack a powerful punch.). And there is philosophy (Stoicism).
What is Philosophy?
According to Wikipedia, philosophy is
Philosophy (from Greek φιλοσοφία, philosophia, literally "love of wisdom") is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras (c. 570 – 495 BCE). Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust (if one can get away with it)? Do humans have free will?
But we don't have time for all that. You may even skip reading that.
I want to quote Seneca's Letters from a Stoic,
Philosophy isn't a parlor trick or made for show. It's not concerned with words, but with facts. It's not employed for some pleasure before the day is spent, or to relieve the uneasiness of our leisure. It shapes and builds up the soul, it gives order to life, guides action, shows what should and shouldn't be done — it sits at the rudder steering our course as we vacillate in uncertainties. Without it, no one can live without fear or free from care. Countless things happen every hour that require advice, and such advice is to be sought out in philosophy. Seneca's Letters from a Stoic.
Jordan Peterson said, actions taken without much thinking results in chaos.
It is important to think because action based on thinking is likely to be far less painful and more productive than action based upon ignorance. So, if you want to have a life characterized by competence, productivity, security, originality and engagement rather than one that is nasty, brutish and short, you need to think carefully about important issues. - Jordan Peterson Essay Writing Guide.
Those who think philosophy isn't practical, are missing the point.
"To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school. […] It is to solve some of the problems of life, not theoretically, but practically." - Thoreau in Walden
Philosophy is an operating system for life. If there is a problem in your life. The answer is already being contemplated deeply and documented on paper by one of the greatest minds. Dead or alive.
The point is, philosophy at its best is practical, not theoretical. - Ryan Holiday
Studying philosophy gives you raw stone pieces. Like in Minecraft. You can build swords that can help you to slay dragons or build a stone wall around your home so that zombies can not get too close to you.
Same in real life, it gives you raw thoughts that are used (may not directly) to solve your life problems.
How to get started?
Start by reading Ryan Holiday's Obstacle is the Way. Which has a core message of seeing obstacles objectively, acting against their weaknesses, and persevering in your will and values, you will transform the obstacles you meet into the fire that fuels your success. Hence using obstacles as stepping stones.
You will have to develop reading and notetaking skills. So that you can document what you all have learned and share with others. I use Evernote for this task.
You may be interested in the video essay I made on how books makes you think?
You may also be interested in reading, why you should study history too?
So much to study and explore, so little time.
Thanks for reading.