Philosophy As a Way of Life
The early, so-called “great”, philosophers saw philosophy as a way of life, meaning not only a means of livelihood, but more especially a pattern of thinking, a way of perceiving oneself and the universe, and a guide to ethics and morality--a way of deciding how to live and relate to others. They searched, discussed, experimented and labored over trying to develop and teach a method for doing these things. They each sought what they called “truth”, but few ever felt that they were satisfied that they had found an unequivocal answer. Most of them, at various times in their lives, were popular and sought after by some and seen as dangerous heretics by others.
Some met the fate of execution as was often the case with so-called heretics. They would rather die than to pretend to abandon their way of seeing life.
For me, philosophy is not so much a way of life as it is a journey, an adventure, an inquiry. Having been on this journey most of my life (I have only recently realized that this is what it was), I can now say that I have reached the conclusion that there are some questions that man will never answer with any degree of certainty: questions about who I am, about the origin of life, about purpose and destination, about infinity and the boundaries of space and time. Therefore, I believe that it behooves us all to learn to be comfortable, or even excited, with not knowing.
I also believe that man can, and does, form a workable and productive set of values (morals) which enhance his sociability and sense of community. Although we humans have not been able to live up to our own standards, we are continuously striving to do so, and this is part of what I call the journey of philosophy. I hope you are enjoying your trip as much as I am mine.