What is Philosophy?
Philosophy is a means for me to question what occurs in the world and to develop intelligent and mature responses to these issues. The reason behind questioning is that the cost of not questioning is to become part of the “herd”.
Being part of the herd means following the mentality of the herd, which can be highly undesirable for several reasons. Firstly, this entails following standards set by the herd, for fashion, interests, viewpoint of issues, and various other things. The significance of this means the loss of uniqueness and individuality, and assimilating into the herd. Secondly, being a herd follower means endorsing and following the decisions of the herd. For example, if the herd decides to do something illogical, such as going skydiving without parachutes, being a follower implies blindly doing the same.
I believe there is an alternative to belonging to a herd. First and foremost, one can create a philosophical construct, a mental plane where one can organize one’s thoughts, ideas and contemplations about philosophical issues and pursuits. This can be achieved through a two-step process: seeking and attaining.
Seeking involves research about the issue or issues of one’s choice. This requires collecting information in order to formulate ideas to place in the philosophical construct. When doing so, it is essential that one avoids logical fallacies, as this can severely degrade one’s credibility.
Attaining necessitates discussion and debate, in order to refine and strengthen one’s ideas. Without the input or feedback of others, one’s ideas will never flourish to their fullest, since a stagnant mind cannot bear fruit. After one’s ideas have been refined, the final step is to construct a response. This can take many forms: it can be an essay, blog post, video, or some other form.
After the response has been completed, the final process can be separated into two parts: contemplating and sharing. Through contemplation, we can question why we shouldn’t endorse common wisdom and mainstream views, and create a thoughtful alternative instead. In addition, we should maintain the philosophical construct, and ensure that it is structurally sound, so that it will not collapse.
In addition, we can continue to share our views with others, and consider their views as well. This will encourage philosophical growth and maturity, as well as plant seeds of new ideas. Rather than finding only like-minded individuals to converse with, we should also place emphasis on seeking those with opposing views in order to expand our perspective of issues. Lastly, we should frequent discussions and debates with both these types of individuals so that we can hear both sides of an argument.