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.

Also, every month I send out a newsletter packed with Interesting and Exclusive Things.  If you sign up today you’ll also get 3 FREE tracks of my music as a welcome gift.

Get 3 Free Tracks Now.

And lastly, if you’d like to find out what I’m up to on a more day-to-day basis then here is my brain on Twitter:

148 Replies to “The True Value of Philosophy in Life…”

  1. I very much enjoyed reading this. But I think philosophy is more than an internal framework of ideas. It’s a desire to attain wisdom, to live the good life (even if the definition is idiosyncratic), and when it was born it involved practices like meditating, gymnastics, experimenting with the body, with lifestyles. It was an embodied practice, and also a form of de-conditioning, of examining and changing beliefs through different rituals.

    Like

    1. Hey there,
      I am glad you enjoyed reading my post. ;-)
      Your points are very interesting. I assume you are talking about Plato’s academy, where philosophy was taught, alongside other subjects, such as gymnastics and mathematics – must have been a cool place. ;-) To clear something up, I wrote that your ‘personal philosophy’ is an internal framework of ideas, I wasn’t talking about philosophy as a whole there.
      It’s nice to meet you, I am glad we connected, have a great day,
      – J

      Like

  2. Hey James! Must say incredible post. Somewhere philosophy and creativity goes hand in hand as their manifestation is manifold. Your writings are sensitive and rich…I am following you. keep the art going. Thank you indeed for liking my post.

    Like

  3. Hey James! Must say incredible post. Somewhere philosophy and creativity goes hand in hand as their manifestation is manifold. You writings are sensitive and rich…I am following…keep the art going. Thank you indeed for liking my post.

    Like

    1. I fully agree with this. ;-)
      Thanks very much – I took my time on this one because I knew it had to be Just Right.
      The art is, indeed, keeping going. It is good to meet you. ;-)
      – J

      Like

Click Here To Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s