Why is Philosophy not useless?

Before we dive into any type of consideration, let us decide whether the highly overused concept of uselessness has a firm basis for its quotidian use or it’s just a verbal habit that we’ve acquired without realizing it. Well could you say that the categorization “useful”/”useless” is anything but dependent on the entity it influences and the means by which it does so? Clearly not. We’ve all encountered situations in which what for us seemed completely pointless was worthwhile for others, which is only natural given the fact that we don’t all have the same tastes nor desires. Hence, there is no such thing as “This is valueless.”, but rather “This does not avail me in any way”.

Yet it seems to me that something erroneous has somehow still managed to crawl into the sentence above. Could anyone, after careful reflection, esteem something as 100% futile to them? Or rather is it just a matter of the perspective we choose to judge from? Perhaps even something that stirs only negative emotions in you aids you precisely in that it makes you conscious of what it is you loathe and why. Or maybe it helps you strengthen your character or it makes you aware of the fact that there is something you have to work on-it could be anything. Briefly, it is a matter of becoming cognizant of the way in which you could find something beneficial in no matter what provided you earnestly endeavor to.

Having clarified this, I propose we try and find ways in which philosophy could be fruitful, given the fact that not seldom have I heard people hastily underestimate its potential.

 (NOTE: Here I’m not referring to philosophy at an academic level, rather to a sort of journey we could all make on our own)

By contemplating concepts such as good, evil, justice, liberty, rights, beauty etc. you won’t ever find a definition that would be universally accepted. So why bother? To create a life philosophy of your own. You don’t have to have the same ethical views as Kant, but by reading his opinions you might find that you need to explain to yourself why and how your views differ from his. Thus you’ll start musing on these things that ultimately represent the unconscious basis of your life decisions. Hence, you will become more aware of how you live your life and what you are really after.

 On the same lines, by spending more time listening to your inner voice and observing your mind as it strives to elucidate the meaning and the value of certain concepts you reach a whole new level of self-consciousness. Saying that you’ll find out who you are sounds a bit clicheic, for you’ll achieve much more: you’ll be in charge of who you are and you’ll be able to mold the self you wish to embody way easier since you’ll comprehend the power of the tools you are to play with. As Sartre would put it, “Existence precedes essence”.

And, for the sake of brevity, I shall only mention one more idea. The value of life itself will most likely occupy your thoughts for long enough, leading to a future version of yourself that would live to the fullest, with the awareness of why you chose to live. You’ll know how to appreciate your existence and you’ll avoid the monotony of a cyclical life by simply discovering ways of playing the game that the relativity governing our sea of existence forces upon us.

At least these are some of the ways it benefits me. Can you share other ways in which philosophy has helped you or, if you’ve never approached it, what are your expectations/wishes/anxieties regarding this subject?

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4 responses to “Why is Philosophy not useless?

  1. Hi there, glad you stumbled upon my crazy little blog. This blog is very diverse and challenging. Challenging in the good sense, since it´s making my two neurons that I still posses work. This post made me smile since I was pretty good at philosophy during my time in college which I only did one year and less than a half. I found Philosophy to be extremely relative. You can justify almost anything if not everything, which made me a good debater by the way, and gave me the tools that I have today to make people crazy with my arguments. You can turn around weather you believe it yourself or not, any argument on any subject, word meaning, sentences, whatever. I remember in one class they gave us 3 philosophers with three different philosophies and told us to write a paper sticking to those 3 guys and their 3 different philosophies, to argue weather going to war was morally correct as well as killing civilians in war. Obviously all the kids used those philosophies to argue that it was inmoral, I was the only one who took the other route and argued that yes, it was morally correct to go to war and kill civilians. Weather I believed it or not that´s beside the point, the point is that I got an A- on that paper, and i remember I had to speak in front of the whole class. And this in was what I called in dear terms “The Communist Republic of California” so you can imagine how many friends I made with the argument. But the teacher being also very far left politically, he was a very good teacher and person. Since I just took those philosophies and argued them just the other way around than the other kids, since I found that it was too easy to go for yes war is wrong and killing civilians is wrong. That was too easy to argue and didn´t find the challenge there.

    Anyways, sorry to bore you with such a long comment. But I got quite excited seeing a blog that reminded me of those old days.

    So if you don´t mind I´ll be sticking around, becoming your new best stalker I promise, be dropping by once in a while and to revive my neurons.

    • I’m so glad you found something to relate to on this blog of mine! Indeed, everything is relative, so through philosophy we’d rather try to find values for us to live by, rather than universal ones. Since I am to read philosophy in the following years at the university, I might end up teaching it, and to be honest I would love a student who thinks like you, who doesn’t just take the widespread view and gives the fairly superficial arguments that anybody would think of. Indeed you can give answers for and against in any matter, but going through the effort of actually considering every implication is something not many would do. Judging whether it is morally correct to go to war seems to me not sufficient, I would say that it depends on the individual and on their personal values. But I don’t want to get into lengthy arguments now, I simply wanted to thank you for taking the time to read through my random articles!

  2. Pingback: Why you are ignorant (Or Sherlock’s knowledge theory) | Psycharma·

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