Philosophy is "the love of wisdom, or of truth, or of a passionate question for knowledge about various aspects of the self and the world.”i Until now, I had accepted education as it was being offered to me. I was oblivious to the fact that there was any kind of well-developed philosophy behind it all. After being introduced to the main branches of philosophy: epistemology (the study of what knowledge is), metaphysics (questioning reality), aesthetics (principles of art and the nature of beauty), ethics (asking basic questions), logic (errors in reasoning), I have had the opportunity to decide for myself which ones I choose to believe in and why or why not.
John Locke stated that we are born into this world as a “blank slate” only to have our minds formed through exposure to the outside world. Education is a requirement of all citizens, it shapes us; it helps us learn and grow as individuals eventually prepared to become a contributing member of society. From elementary all the way to high school we focus primarily on math, English, history, and science. Why is philosophy ignored up until college? Yes, all of these core subjects are important, but can we really use our absorbed knowledge to its fullest potential without the awareness or understanding of philosophy? Philosophy can be beneficial for us on a daily basis and throughout our lifetime. Encouraging it since as young as elementary could improve the childrens' critical thinking skills as well as their analyzing and reasoning skills. We are being introduced to a whole new, complex way of thinking when our minds have already been molded into relying on the basic simplicity of our society. A human’s mind is his/her tool of survival. There is a reason we do not have hard shells or sharp claws. There is a reason we cannot camouflage, spit poison or release toxins. It is because we gain, use, store, and recollect knowledge. Our minds allow us to know what to do in order to survive.
Ignorance is bliss, yes, but only to a certain extent and only in regards to certain situations. For example, ignorant people only see one side of an issue, which is their own. They are completely unaware of what is going on around them, but that is by choice. Therefore, these people are happy because they are not able to distinguish right from wrong. Ignorance is for the lazy. Many times you hear the famous “if only” phrases after a life changing event or decision has been made. “If only I have known”, “If only I had thought about it more”, “If only I had done this”, “If only I had done that”. But through philosophy and knowledge we find ways to overcome the negativity and learn from our mistakes. We must become “aware of [our intersubjective fields] and evaluate our actions in terms of our potential or actual impact on others.” When you know the facts about something, you can create a more informed decision that is more likely to result in a positive outcome.
“The ingredients of happiness come pretty cheap.” iiAccording to Epicurus, we only need three ingredients in order to be happy: friends, freedom, and an analyzed life. Does any of that matter or exist anymore? Now everyone is captivated by materialistic merchandise. We continue to want more and feel the need to have the next “big thing”. The question is, “why do we shop so much?” We are confused when trying to distinguish between what we really want and what we really need. However, advertisements manage to keep us addicted and we often catch ourselves dependent on their products for “happiness”.
I have to admit that I am one who shops frequently. Then later on I am wondering why I even some of the items I came home with. Many of my clothing articles still have tags one them; which probably means that I did not actually need to purchase it. It is just a matter of being able to say, “I have that” instead of, “I want that.” Do I think money brings people happiness? Definitely not. Wealthy people have just as much…