# Day 312 (Your ‘Weltanschauung’…)

“Oh for heavens sake stop boring us with all this philosophy!” ~ That dismissive remark during a casual conversation set me thinking. Why does the subject of ‘philosophy’ elicit such disparaging remarks? Most people know very little about the subject, some think it has no relevance to the more practical concerns of life, and some are just intimidated by the metaphysical aspects and consider it beyond their intellectual reach. Among the more scathing remarks i have heard is “philosophy is only about constructing theories to explain obscurities!” In the first year of graduation only one among our group of friends had taken up the study of philosophy as a subject and i remember how much we would tease her about it. Our favourite joke being that famous example of deductive reasoning: ‘All human beings are mortal; all Greeks are mortal; therefore all Greeks are human beings.” At every opportunity we would use that template to make up senseless syllogisms and then giggle and laugh over it much to her annoyance!
It was only much later that one realised that such simplistic perceptions fail to relate to the pervasiveness and importance of philosophy; and every subject be it poetry, architecture, economics or even robotics, involves the study of some underlying principles that form its basic ‘philosophy’. In fact some form of ‘philosophic-thought’ is an intrinsic part of the life of each and every one of us. Almost everyone at some time is puzzled by essentially philosophic questions such as, “What is the meaning of life?” “What happens to us when we die?” “What is the cause of suffering in this world?” etc. Even a person who claims that considering philosophic questions is a waste of time is expressing a valuable and important insight. They say the rejection of all philosophy is in itself a philosophy!! We actually base our life-actions on our ideas, our beliefs and our principles— our own personal philosophy (never mind that there isn’t much connection between this and what is taught as philosophy in our colleges and universities!)
Etymologically the word philosophy has found its way into the English language (like many others) from Greek. The first part, ‘phileo’ is one of the four Greek words for love.The second component is another Greek word, ’sophe’,which means wisdom. The literal meaning of the compound word thus being ‘love of wisdom’. A short definition for it states that it is “Thinking about thinking”, only it is not just a senseless parade of abstractions, or a study of a body of knowledge. It is “the basic force that shapes our character and actions in a way that affects our day to day experiences.”
When you look at it in this sense, the components of philosophy are the ‘building blocks of our world-view’, our belief system. They define how we view the world, how we interpret the world around us, how we understand the ideas of art, the music we listen to, our attitude to the law and politics of the land, our relationship with our environment, the cinema we watch or even the books we read. Together these elements, disparate though they seem, are inseparably related to our ultimate understanding of life and the world. In German they call it ‘weltanschauung’ ~ your own ‘world view’ or ‘personal philosophy’. It needs a lifetime(yours!) of study…


About sunsur81

A gatherer of thoughts...exploring myths,metaphors and expressions of life...
This entry was posted in 365 Days Blog-roll, Thought snippets. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to # Day 312 (Your ‘Weltanschauung’…)

  1. NupurNS says:

    All human beings are mortal; all Greeks are mortal; therefore all Greeks are mortal.
    I think you missed the punchline there??


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