The True Value of Philosophy in Life…

For a lot of people, ‘Philosophy’ is a dirty word; conjuring feelings of boredom, images of dry dusty books, and memories of long forgotten classrooms.  It is a term that a lot of people file in the: ‘not useful’ and/or ‘not interesting’ section of their minds.

This is potentially, one of the gravest, and most dangerous of errors…

Why on earth would I say this?  And how could knowing anything about philosophy improve, not only your life, but also your experience of it?

These are some Good Questions.  To answer them, let me talk to you about…

Philosophy

Some people believe that they do not have a personal philosophy, but this is simply a matter of terminology.  Put simply, philosophy is: an internal framework of ideas about what is true. This includes: beliefs, values, and thoughts.  It is one of the 2 main things that determine:

  • what you do, and
  • why your life is the way it is.  

(The other being: your state of consciousness in the moment.)

This framework acts as a filter, thru which: every decision, every action and every behaviour passes.  In this way, in a very real sense, the shape of your life is really determined by the shape of your personal philosophy.  Imagine life is like icing on a cake, and the shape of your philosophy is the nozzle thru which it passes.  Change the shape of the nozzle, and you change the icing on the cake.

Where do the ideas that make up this framework come from?  All over the place.  Things we read, things we hear, things we think, things we see.  Something someone we respect tells us as a child.  They can literally come from anywhere.  Our own personal philosophies are a hodge-podge pile of best-fit ideas that seem to be true to us, culled from any and every source available.

And why do they stick?  Well, it’s part of the way we are built.  We crave certainty and we are always looking for mental shortcuts, (which is all an idea is, really).  If something is true for us, then we don’t need to continually think it thru every time we find ourselves in a relevant situation.  We can just ‘act as if’ and forego the thinking process.

Is this a bad thing?  Well, not necessarily.  In fact, it can be pretty useful.  It only becomes problematic if: we begin to believe that our ideas are objectively rather than subjectively true.  If we stop questioning them and allow them to crystallize into rigid internal dogma.  This is dangerous territory.  Because if we believe something is objectively true for all time, then it opens the door to some really wacky choices, decisions and behaviours.  If history shows us anything, it shows us that: human beings are willing to do some crazy shit, even to the point of harming other human beings, in order to defend an idea that they have decided is objectively true, in order to protect a fragile sense of internal integrity.

So, why is any of this Important?

Well, the double understanding that: a) each of us has a personal philosophy, which: b) is a framework of ideas that we believe, rather than know to be true, creates some fairly major wiggle room for growth and evolution.  This is a good place to be.  Philosophy should be ever-evolving and fluid, like life itself.

Some ideas are obviously more useful than others.  Interestingly, I have found in my own life that: the ideas that make me happiest, improve the quality of my life the most, and improve the well-being of those around me to the greatest degree, are often the truest ideas

This is something which, I believe, warrants deep consideration.


My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist.  If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music.  Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.

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16 Comments

    1. SoundEagle agrees with celinatinsley. Have you studied philosophy in high school and/or university, James?

      This post of yours has finally convinced me to follow your blog. As you may still recall, I wrote to you on your blog’s “About” page in March 6, 2014 as follows:

      Hi Mr James Radcliffe,

      It is delightful to come across your blog where one could savour fine writing and music from another fellow writer and musician. May you find even greater satisfaction and spiritual fulfilment in your artistic endeavour and ecstatic freedom in 2014 and beyond!

      You are very welcome, James. Thank you for your wishes, and for being kind to those orphans. I have listened to samples of your music, and can see that you have injeted considerable care and exploration in various styles and formats. I like that you work on your own and have full reign over your artistic output. To that extent, we are similar in our outlook and approach. I also like some of what you consider to be of value. That you have thought about the purpose of life is very encouraging insofar as it provides a solid and spiritual ground on which human connection and happiness can be more examined and authentic, and from which (the creation of) your writing and music can have a deeper purpose.

      Keep up the good work in philosophy as much as in music, James!

      Like

      1. Hey there SoundEagle,
        I DO remember that, how have you been?
        You are very astute in your observations, I did indeed study philosophy at university. 😉 To be honest tho, I found the worth of the university study to be far inferior to following my own interest (and a lot of reading).
        Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me, I am glad you are following the blog, there is some really cool stuff coming.
        I hope this finds you well,
        – J

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for the prompt reply, James. There is a fair amount of philosophy in some posts of my blog too, if you know where to find them. You may try finding them with the philosophy tag or under the philosophy category.

          Like

  1. Hi James, very interesting post – I like the your phrase “Our own personal philosophies are a hodge-podge pile of best-fit ideas that seem to be true to us” – I guess they are! Thank you for liking my post about a cup of tea. Best wishes, Gemma

    Like

        1. Thankyou very much. I really appreciate your encouragement.
          I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble. I hope that, whatever it is, it is resolved soon.
          Best wishes to you, and thanks for stopping by,
          – J

          Like

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