Perhaps you’ve always thought ‘why’ so you’re now considering reading some philosophy. Alternatively maybe you’ve somehow landed in a philosophy class and you’re wondering ‘why???’. Either way, this list should help you get a grip on just exactly what you should expect to get out of studying philosophy. It should also show you why I think that studying philosophy is the closest thing to Jedi training you’re going to find on this planet. Here’s the list, philosophy provides:
1. An appreciation of just how bad many of the arguments you hear in your day are. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it leaves you feeling superior but on the other talking about it to non-philosophers might get you labelled as a know-it-all. Mostly it’s supposed to build up your ability to spot nonsense and double-talk, so it should bring the added advantage of helping you avoid being drawn in or conned. Another advantage of this is a heightened ability to notice (and correct) flaws in your own arguments. Realising this skill can help you become a master manipulator; “These are not the droids you’re looking for”.
2. Answers which lead to more questions. Yes philosophy will provide answers (contrary to popular belief) but with these answers come more questions. With this in mind, if the thirst for knowledge keeps you going then more questions will just add to the fun, but if you want an absolute answer to the fairly ambiguous questions common to philosophy you’re likely to be frustrated. The thing is though, philosophical questions will never have clear cut absolute answers, that’s what makes them philosophical. (OK I’ve got nothing Jedi related for this one)
3. An ability to make difficult situations into abstract problems. This can lead to an easier means of finding a solution but it can also leave you tied up in your own thoughts. Use your new abilities wisely. (OK back to Jedi training now).
4. You’ll never look at anything quite the same way again. You’ll find that after a certain level of study you’ll start to find hidden depth and meaning in practically everything. One of the main benefits of this is that you’ll rarely feel bored again. (In Star Wars this is familiarity with the force in philosophy it’s familiarity with what we call ‘the meta’)
5. You’ll start to gain the ability to see arguments from the other person’s side and with this you’ll find that it becomes easier to let things go. In effect philosophy could make anger a rare event and one you can distance yourself from at that. (this kind of thinking can keep you from the dark side)
OK perhaps the last 2 are a little Vulcan too, but they’re still pretty Jedi and there’s no denying that they’re an awesome set of skills to acquire. Hope you enjoyed the post, if you disagree/have anything to add, feel free to drop a comment below. Thanks for reading, Cheers, John
PS. If you fancy seeing me use my Jedi/philosopher skills on the peculiar world of children’s toys pop on over to my other blog: John the Toy Shop Guy and if you’d like to have a look at my first book ‘Living the good life in a modern world’ follow this link 🙂