Why do we need philosophy?
To understand, to love, to know, and to be human.
Among all disciplines, philosophizing is the most befitting one for human-beings by far.
Science, religion, literature, art, craftsmanship are great and necessary but they are all in need of philosophical engagement.
Most people consider philosophy as asking questions and not finding answers.
Moreover, it has become increasingly professionalized and institutionalized as an academic subject.
However, it’s the most vital mental activity that we need to make the world meaningful.
It cannot be restricted as an activity that belongs to philosophers. It doesn’t matter whether you are a physicist, mathematician, or chemist; the core part of your work will always be reasoning.
So regardless of who you are, you need to question and understand what’s going on.
Since we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a vast universe and adventure, it’s inevitable to use philosophy as an ultimate tool to discover. Ideas always shape our behavior and actions create the world we live in.
“What you are is the result of what you have thought” – Buddha
Questioning is based on dealing with the human mind, and that’s why its end products are always universal. Every human being can enjoy doing philosophy; asking the right questions, reasoning behind interesting events, critically examining the previous works, and exceed limits just by thinking.
Then you can ask “Why philosophy became popular in ancient greek but not in India?”.
There’s a difference between having the desire and having the right conditions. You can have the urge to build a beautiful house but it can only be built when you have the required resources.
What’s the relationship between Science, Philosophy, and Religion?
Science is always analytical, it only explains how the laws of nature work. It delivers the results of what’s what, and how that happens. So its main concern is never the search for meaning.
Science provides the woods, philosophy helps you to make a fire with them, and religion explains why you need that fire.
You look around, make observations and experiments to gather your woods as information. Philosophy turns the meaningless woodpile into meaningful knowledge, and religion shows what you’re going to do with that knowledge.
Religion says “I am the ultimate truth” and it claims “your pile of knowledge is nothing without me” because it promises the most permanent, ethereal, and everlasting truth.
The message of Jesus was not about the world economy, politics, fine arts, or history. He simply declared the ultimate truth which is the human soul is eternal, and judgment day is coming after death. What does that mean? Our life is a test, and earthily issues are temporary, so all the worldly information is nothing but garbage by the side of the ultimate truth brought by prophets.
On the other hand, Islam is a little bit different because it claims to know about nature, human beings, animals, marriage, business, and all sorts of other things. That’s why Islam claims itself as the complement of all heavenly religions. And that’s why it’s fraught with more problems due to being involved in different areas of life.
Philosophy doesn’t assert absolute, timeless, and eternal claims as religion. It uses all the acquired material as a tool to build something new, better, and more meaningful in the range of capabilities of the human mind.
So the religion says that the case is closed, and here are the rules. Philosophy says that we can question and have an updated version of anything since the world is continuously changing.
Asking questions is a must to excel oneself
If we were natural creatures, we would not create more problems when our belly is full. Our natural tendency is to exceed the limits of our nature. For example, animals don’t do philosophy but they can do the first steps of science such as observation, sensation, and learning the laws of nature.
The capability of the human mind is beyond nature, and civilizations, inventions, moral laws are proof of this. But this does not necessarily lead to extinguishing, disrespecting, and condemning nature.
Being natural is not what makes us human because we are historical and cultural creatures. Philosophy is the main tool we used to build such a legacy and carry it through generations.
We want to live more, safely, and in peace; that’s why one of the deepest human desire is to obtain knowledge beyond suspicion.
A healthy individual, who’s done with the basic physiological and safety needs, will inevitably be hungry for truth. When you are safe and your belly is full, you are ready to function improperly. To heal this dysfunction, you need philosophy because you must use reasoning.
So it’s natural for such a person to knock on the door of science, philosophy, and religion. Truth can be found through different channels but that doesn’t necessarily change the truth itself.
Since the human mind is fallible, you shall not believe every thought you have. So strengthening and sharpening your mind is a prerequisite to reach the truth.
“Any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain.”
–Santiago Ramon y Cajal
As we grow older somethings start to fade; exuberance is replaced with timidness, leadership leaves its place to conformity, and boldness is gone because of fears.
We become more stupid because our search for the truth has vanished. Nobody is hungry for truth, especially in recent years our need for meaning has been replaced by the need for more power.
What’s the core motivation behind our actions now?
It’s mostly about increasing our social status, acquiring more wealth, or becoming more charismatic, etc.
Long story short, we are all desperately chasing power. This has serious dehumanizing effects because we forget who we are in the process.
According to Socrates, it is not in human nature to choose to act in a way what one believes to be harmful, instead of a way that is good. He claimed that all wrong, or evil, is only done out of ignorance and not from the intention to do evil.
Then there must be something wrong with our emotional programming which makes us motivated to do evil.
Ignorance is the root of all evil
All the misery and curses placed upon us because of one reason: ignorance, and what’s the cause of ignorance?
A weak, foggy, rusty mind.
If you let your mind be weakened, then your intellect starts working against you to bring more unnecessary suffering into your life. Then we can conclude that if we want to attract the good in the world, we have no chance but to keep our mind sharp as much as we can.
Whatever we don’t work eventually becomes blunt, so as our minds. If we want our mind to stay sharp, we must be sure that it’s working.
Well, there are many ways to work our mind such as reading, writing, learning a new skill or language, overcoming challenges, playing video games, watching series, etc. However, the main trigger is always asking questions.
When you ask a question, the path to work gets opened because you find yourself in a motion to find the answer.
Let’s say that you worked all day long and came to your house, all you want is to lay down and rest a little bit. Then suddenly your kid came up and started asking some questions. You’re a terrible parent and chose to ignore the kid, and told him to go away. However, he resisted and kept on asking.
So you inevitably surrendered and decided to answer for one time. Then he got encouraged and asked one more time, and again, and again. Soon you noticed that you’re charged up with more energy because the questions forced you to think more by awakening your mental power.
Questioning is the main tool for thinking and it’s how you start the engine of your mind.
The idea of “question is more important than answers” is legit because the root of any great work is always a beautiful question.
Questions organize our thinking around what we don’t know. Especially in an era where you can easily reach information, it’s crucial to form the right questions in order to produce something meaningful rather than drowning in the information garbage.
So whether it’s revolutionizing your life, change your relationships, produce great work of art; it always starts with a question.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
You will stay restless like a bag of shit if you don’t have any questions because your brain won’t find a reason to search for anything.
This is the situation of the majority because the education system is strictly programmed to destroy our curiosity. Nobody values the questions, contrarily you get better grades if you can give the right answer.
The teachers are often too stressed to deal with new questions, that’s why they prefer to use traditional teaching methods. They make you feel embarrassed or guilty when you ask something simple or stupid. Others can laugh at you even though they are far away from understanding the point of the lecture.
They show you what to think rather than how to think. Well, what’s wrong with this? When you learn what to think, it’s only useful for that lecture and you cannot spread it into your life. You may pass the exams but when it comes to real-life problems, you still stay unarmed and untrained. But if you know how to think, you can take what you’ve learned and adapted it to multiple situations.
So how should we think in a way to ask questions that will give born to more creativity, fuel our passion, and lead to profound ideas, and most importantly, put us into action? In other words, how can our questions demystify the unknown, and open up an ocean of possibilities?
The success of a great question or an answer relies on the words we choose, and that’s why having a wide vocabulary range is tremendously effective in our thinking. For this reason, how we use and frame these words differentiates a great question from a poor one. However, this is the only logical part of the problem.
Since we have been frightened, demoralized, and repeatedly taught what to think for so long, even the idea of asking a question that might lead to deep thinking will provoke a lot of negative emotions.
Most people don’t want to ask something new because of the limitations of their subconscious mind. They just don’t want to deal with more stress, anxiety, or fear.
At the end of the day, a good question will surface our biases, wrong beliefs, and limited views. That means we will be faced with our ignorance. However, this is the only way for learning can happen because if there’s no question asked, there’s no action taken.
Only if you dare to open the gates of change, you can make new discoveries. So by questioning, you can profoundly change your view on pretty much anything.
It’s also possible to act without questioning because we can understand and calculate vast amounts of information on the surface level, but that never drives long-lasting behavior.
You can do something just because you like it but that doesn’t guarantee consistency or success. If there’s no healthy and meaningful inner communication, how will believe yourself or reach a certain amount of confidence?
So if you don’t ask questions to yourself, everything will be vague and fragile in your behavior because you will lack inner connection.
Here’s another crucial takeaway: Questions create the connection.
Whether it’s about the inner or outer world, we need questions to create a connection.
How can we make meaningful relationships if we don’t ask anything to the other side? Questions also allow others to share their experience. That’s the only way that people understand we are genuinely interested and learn about them. We declare our respect by asking about their life and experience.
The quality of your life is defined by the questions you ask.
What do therapists do in a session?
They ask questions to their clients to provoke their childhood memories or traumas. When the problems come up to the conscious mind from their subconscious, now the clients have a chance to face them and come up with solutions. You can think of your subconscious mind as google.
As your mind is connected to the universal intelligence, google can also reach the entire internet index. They both return inquiries in seconds based on how accurate and well worded your question is.
If you ask lousy questions like “How can’t I ever lose weight?”, or “Why does it always happen to me?”, the answer will also be lousy such as “Because you’re a moron!”.
When you are conscious about your questions, you can immediately shift or direct your focus by changing your mood in a positive way. For example, instead of asking “Why do I always have to fail?”, you can try “What can I do differently so I succeed next time?”. When you do this, your mind will start generating positive ideas.
You want to take action? Ask a question
We don’t like to be told about what to do.
When people tell us to do something, we inevitably resist the idea. It doesn’t work when you tell your kid to study hard or read books.
A smart salesperson would never tell you to buy their product but he rather offers you ideas with manipulative questions. For example, he can ask “how would you like your seated group, covered with silk or leather?”. Maybe you haven’t even decided to buy one but answering this question might lead you to purchase it.
Since we all craft a custom path in this life, we must ask questions and find answers first hand.
Nobody can do it for you, this is one of the harsh truths of life.
For example, how did you find this article or this blog? You probably had a question and typed it into google, now you are reading this for some possible answers.
We are all in search of something, and there are books, people, organizations, articles, videos, etc. waiting for us to help. But if you don’t want to help yourself, none of these things can help you either.
If you are not directing your will into finding answers, even if I give you the secret of life written on a piece of paper, you would say “What the fuck is this shit” and throw it away.
Give the most delicious to a sick man, and he will deny eating it. For this reason, everyone is responsible for their personal war.
The most powerful questions might look stupid and childish. For example, “What do I really want in life?” is a highly influential question one may ask.
It’s not like you ask a question and you are done. The valuable questions are often asked repetitively because we are constantly evolving and changing our perspective in life. As Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
After the questions shaped the way we see the world, this discovery will bring about a paradigm shift. Our value system changes, and we see and perceive everything differently even though they are exactly the same.
What makes a question great?
A great question is a question that leads to a great answer, so it must be about something worthwhile and important in a way to benefit and improve the welfare of all.
It takes a sharp mind to see the value, not many people can do it. When you check out the YouTube comments, you can easily see how people are eagerly interested in useless stuff. They can’t control their urge to know more, and they end up chasing all the garbage information.
The value is perceived differently by different people despite it’s always what it is. Opinions can’t change reality. If you don’t see the value, no one can make you see and you simply ignore it. That’s why they call it “ignorance” because it comes from ignoring the truth.
But just because ignorant people don’t hear the music, the dance won’t stop. The things you need are there but it won’t come to you unless you are willing to ask, seek, and embrace challenges. What’s the point of being a human after all if we don’t use the privilege of owning a mind?
It’s nice to ask questions that will stretch your understanding about an important topic, so it must be something that you could know, and that you should know. It shouldn’t be a question about something way beyond your capacities.
For example, “Why am I human?” is a shitty question to ask. I don’t know why I am human, and I don’t care. I just happen to be so and I can’t change it as well. It’s not wise to waste my life on a topic that I can never totally grasp.
Some things are beyond our understanding.
Why do we ask questions? It’s like asking a fish why it swims. It’s something we cannot deny or escape from.
This is how we managed to survive despite our physical inadequacy and get out of the food chain. This is how we excel ourselves. When you don’t question, you become like a cheetah refusing to run.
And when you reject playing your role, you will always be doomed.
If you want more welfare, peace, and beauty in your life, you need to think, question, and know more.
It’s in our programming, we reach fulfillment only when we make the world meaningful, and it’s only possible with questioning.
The universe is already ready to use its power, just be bold enough to ask.
Ask questions, and be more.
Let your mind jogging.
Otherwise, weeds and rats take over when it’s idle, and that becomes your downfall.
Insidiously, little by little, you keep losing and losing till you say “What the hell am I living around here for? I got no reason to go on.”
Don’t let that happen.