On Learning Philosophy


In my last post I speculated, “A writer who takes his or her work seriously must also be a philosopher, to some degree.” This got me thinking more in depth about what exactly it means to be a philosopher, and what sort of theories are out there. How deeply can we look into an idea of something? What does it mean to die? Can we suffer the turmoils of death while still living? Fortunately, having a Kindle gives me access to a ton of free, public domain books, so I downloaded several books on philosophy from the greats: Plato’s Republic, Aplology, Aristotle’s Ethics, and Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Future of our Educational Institutions, Beyond Good and Evil, and The Antichrist. I’ve finished Beyond Good and Evil, and am now working my way through both Apology and The Antichrist, and it seems as if I’ve uncovered something I’m really interested in.

However, I’m still in that fledgling stage of philosophical observation and interrogation of life’s presuppositions as well as attempting to gain some sort of personal and cultural understanding of the world and the universe. The way we sort of stumble our way through the darkness of unfamiliar territory, looking for something to hold on to to guide us. While I’m a firm believer that science will tell us everything we need to know and will show us the way to understanding, I never discredit or ultimately dismiss the potential for other options and explanations in the search for truth. Philosopher and professor Cornel West said, “A philosopher is a lover of wisdom,” and while labels and generalizations often lead us to incorrect or biased assumptions about complex organisms, it’s still important to maintain personal labels to serve as a pseudo-enlightenment for ourselves so we may push our interests–in this case calling myself a philosopher as I explore my love of wisdom, knowledge, intelligence–to obtain a greater understanding that allows us to freely create and observe without bias on any level or spectrum. I’m attempting to look deeper into what it means to die and if we can prepare ourselves for death. What does it mean to be an educator? To advocate for the future by way of spreading our perceived truths to those who will potentially use it to further their own prospects of intelligence and wisdom. To find the observable changes and habits of our culture to provide a better understanding of who we are as well as why, so I may then write about it, put it in my fiction, to create something stronger, smarter, and better to hopefully create some sort of change or meaning.

With that being said, I’d like to leave you with a couple of my favorite quotes from Nietzsche’s books. despite being a severe misogynist, it’s unfair to consider his other points of view as not worthy of understanding.

“A thing that is explained ceases to concern us–what did the God mean who gave the advice, ‘Know thyself!’ Did it perhaps imply ‘Cease to be concerned about thyself! become objective!’–and Socrates?–And the “scientific man’?” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

“Insanity in individuals is something rare–but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is rule.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

And, my favorite quote so far:

“The process of evolution does not necessarily mean elevation, enhancement, strengthening.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist

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One thought on “On Learning Philosophy

  1. I do feel that most writers are philosophers. To observe life the way that we do, and strip everything down to its core—that’s not something the majority thinks twice about, is it?

    Love this…“A philosopher is a lover of wisdom.”

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