Saturday, October 11, 2008

What is Philosophy?

Paradox exists in every civilization and there are a few who try to rationalize this, a few who try to change paradoxes, a few who are not aware or don't care of these as they are busy with their own priorities. For example belief in Fate is an Eastern Philosophy (some limit it to say it is a Hindu philosophy...this is not correct). Fate rationalizes a lot of paradoxes (a cruel man lives a royal life, a good man a miserable life etc). When I was in China I met a guy who told me " Belief in fate makes people happy eventhough they have very see more genuinely smiling faces in East than West though poverty is higher in East". On the very same day I met another person who said" Belief in fate is the reason for people not following rules (driving rash etc) resulting in higher deaths due to accidents etc in East". I am sure there are several other views to this. But this led to the question What is Philosophy?
Like Science does philosophy try to explain something with a logic that stands in all time, generations and cultures? Or does it evolve with time and understanding of diversities? Where does it start and where does it end? Being religious is a way to understand Philosophy or being an atheist is a better way? Trying to classify something and putting into a Pigeon hole is a very simplistic way to approach philosophy as unlike several other fields of education a true philosopher does not want a degree to pursue this field. It is in human nature to decipher the call of the soul-which occurs in different degrees to different people. I get disturbed when people use this jargon "Management Philosophy". Philosophy is about free flow of knowledge, it is about freedom to think without boundaries and looking at inclusivity in exclusivity. It is not about standardization. One of the earliest failed experiment in this happened when Emperor Akbar tried to extract the best of all religions and tried to create a new religion emcompassing all (naming it Deen-I-Lahi). Standardization was key to his drive. Innovation as it was in Management terms as it was reflecting his Management Philosophy...but alas he was the only follower of this. Therefore to look at Philosophy as a packaged item or branding solution is too naive.
Philosophy to me is an ever expanding knowledge base which may synchronize with your earlier experiences or challenge them but makes your mind able to ask the right questions. Hardening your stand towards a fixed philosophy stops you from being a student of philosophy. There are a motley of thoughts from yesterday and today. They individually and together make sense. There will be more diverse thoughts tomorrow. They should add to what we know today. If we take this approach and are able to synchronize them then we continue to be students of philosophy. A believer in God, religion or an atheist can all be philosophers of same intensity. This is part of Universal Truth and rarely do we realize that we are the stumbling blocks to learning as we blame everything else possible in a difficult situation. When we are in a happy situation where is the time to think about learning.

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Gothenburg, Sweden
Still finding introspecting to find who am I? Waiting for a Guru!