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Philosophy As Instinct

I would describe philosophy as a quest insofar as it is a type of endeavor to which each individual brings his or her own baggage and longing (and more often than not a desire for some immaterial glory, be it revelation or a life-improving wisdom). But I feel that the same perennial sentiment which holds philosophy as something central and absolutely vital to our nature also bears out philosophy as a certain kind of inevitability; not so much some ethereal burden which only the rare and educated uphold, but instead an unavoidably human preoccupation, despite the vast differences in displayed activity we observe amongst people.

I would say that philosophy, so-called, is present in every human action and consideration, since each of these can either be said to be testing, affirming, denying, assembling or destroying a picture of the world from which values then emotions then theories flow. I think it has been aptly said that everyone is a philosopher, and that the only truly distinguishing choice one may make within that realm is whether or not their personal philosophy will be a logically and conscientiously assembled harmony of observations, postulations, experiences and information or a haphazard conglomerate of conjecture, hearsay and unexamined desiderata. Those that find themselves in the first camp may conventionally be called philosophers for the purposeful rigor which informs their involvement in the same unavoidable task that those in the second camp go about with a little less self-awareness and responsibility to tradition.

Ultimately, I feel there would be something strange about deciding that one had “completed” philosophy or “finished” their philosophical journey, so long as we try to speak, by way of necessary shorthand, of the myriad pursuits and inquisitive activities we are compelled to, as philosophy. The term, taken in this way, does not so much describe a linear progression as it does an open and investigative relation to the world; one which seems more likely to deepen the mystery over time than to undo it. It has been my experience that each potential answer almost never becomes anything more than that, although each potential answer definitely brings with it many more questions of varied types and directed toward various aspects of a consideration. Since we recognize a sort of contemplative continuity in the manner in which these proceed from one another, we are inclined to suspect that even seemingly unlike points of inquiry share a common frame, one which expands ever beyond where it is sought, like a sunspot in the corner of one’s eye. I feel that if one were anxious to identify one steadily increasing scalar as regards a lifelong engagement with philosophy they would find a plausible candidate in awe.

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