Philosophizing as a Way of LIfe


I do not believe that philosophizing is synonomous with what goes by the name of “philosophy” in the schools. The professions of scholarship, research, and instruction are outcroppings of critical philosophizing but hardly the ultimate expression. (See my Four Kinds of Sophists & the Hope of Philosophizing)

What I call “perennial philosophy” (seeking the enduring vision) has had many socio-cultural expressions from Socrates to Friedrich Nietzsche, Lao-tse to St. Augustine, Buddha to Edmund Husserl. But famous names & the doctrines arising around them are not what philosophizing is.

Philosophizing evidences as resolute, decisive living. In such a life, the error of separating practice from theory is overcome. We recognzie that to theorize is an ultimate practice wherein we can see immediately what would be hidden to the senses. This is the practice that has given us our finest art, great religions, productive sciences, and abstract mathematics.

Philosophizing as resolute, decisive living requires three methods which invigorate each other. While it is the third that properly translates the ancient Greek term THEORIA, the other two allow for the realization of the third. So I would say each is a part of a more holistic way-beyond (meta-hodos; method) our everyday biases.

  1. Meditation: to calm our attention
  2. Reflection: to focus our situation.
  3. Contemplation: to open our viewpoint.

I take up “resolute” with purpose since the word means to re-detach. We allow ourselves to become overly attached to unnecessary conditions. This makes our attention become distended, overstretched, nervous. It shows our situation as unclear, relativistic, fuzzy. And it brings down our viewpoint through narrowing, bias, closedness.

As we discipline our selves through the engaged practice of THEORIA, the interrelatedness of the three methods constantly broaden our minds. This in turn broadens the horizon of all horizons, our Life-World, allowing us to see all of the possibilities inherent in the KOSMOS, this Beautiful Order.

I call on all those who hold philosophy as important to remember it requires a constant labor to reloosen all the unwarranted chains that we wrap around ourselves.

We cannot allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the petty squabbles of accidental misinterpretations. And surely we can practice enough reflective focus to recognize how assuming we comprehend the full intent of another person is nought but folly.

Let us communicate in openness.

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