Is philosophy useful? (🇬🇧)
The question of whether philosophy is useful is a very complicated one, and it has many different answers. It depends on the context of the word “useful” or the word “philosophy”, but in this dissertation I will only focus on the definition of “useful” as in “beneficial, profitable” and the definition of “philosophy” as “the activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other”.
The whole concept of philosophy is used on a daily basis, and is an essential process in human thought. Without philosophy, chances are humans wouldn’t be where they are now without it. Philosophy is a broad concept though, as there are a few ways it can be divided in, which furthers its usefulness. For example, philosophy delves into ethics, which is a major part of decision making in almost every decision we make. In what world would that result to not be useful? Philosophy also relates to psychology in a lot of ways, is psychology not useful in understanding the human mind? These are questions that, ironically, need to be answered with logic (which philosophy also touches upon). What about individual life? Well, philosophy is also used heavily. People use philosophy for everything, from helping them heal from a bad situation, to reasoning why something is the way it is or why it shouldn’t be as is, to something as simple as what movie to watch. Philosophy helps us understand the world we live in, because without understanding it, it’s difficult to navigate. Philosophy at least helps give a semblance of a mental map to help float in an ever-growing sea of complicated situations or complicated relationships. Philosophy helps understand our situation, how to repair or better it. Philosophy helps understand our relationships, how they work, how to better them, and how they affect you. This could also mean understanding if a relationship is causing pain and hurt, and if so how to cut off the relationship and heal for the better. Without complex reasoning, it’s difficult to live a meaningful life with reason. All said and done, philosophy seems good if we decide life should be handled in a complicated manner, but what if we just boil everything down to something simple?
Maybe life will be simpler without philosophy? So far, it looks like philosophy is something long and complex, so why should we even try and reason its existence? Reasoning its existence will just make the concept more complicated, thus making our lives more complicated. Philosophy being complicated and crude makes it, thus, unuseful. We shouldn’t dedicate our resources sitting around wondering how we should treat one another, or how we can justify our claims on knowing something. Taking specific topics at face value is simple, and even if these values were maliciously changed to indirectly harm me, why should it matter? I don’t want to sit around thinking of how to, directly or indirectly, retaliate. I just want to go to work, put in my number of hours, come back home, and maybe watch a silly cartoon or two, nothing too serious or deep, then go to sleep. I don’t want to spend time thinking about how I could possibly improve my lifestyle, I don’t want to spend time thinking about how my conversation with my coworker, who criticised my workstyle, hurt my feelings, I don’t want to think about any of that. Philosophy will just make my life feel complicated and deep, but in reality it is all really simple. Me adding specific details just gives life depth, and makes me feel bad, because at the end of the day, philosophy makes everything look bad. I don’t want to feel bad, you don’t want to feel bad, so why care at all? Why look at the specifics of the situation, and make yourself feel bad? Stuff happens, and that’s just how the cookie crumbles. No point in feeling like Sisyphus, constantly fighting an uphill battle against details. That’s all the world really is. Details. Philosophy delves into details, thus, making it unuseful and downright bothersome to use. But this just leaves life black and white, which is impossible for us as a species.
Philosophy, in its different branches like ethics and its links with psychology, definitely has a significant role in making decisions and comprehending the intricacies of human relationships. It acts as a guide, providing a mental blueprint for navigating life’s challenges and relationships. However, I also showcase an opposing viewpoint that proposes that a simple and unreflective approach to life can lead to a more direct and untroubled existence. This perspective argues that exploring life’s complexities through philosophy can result in superfluous depth and complexity, which can cause discomfort and dissatisfaction. Essentially, it suggests that the finer details of life are best left unquestioned. I agree with the more positive outlook on philosophy, but a part of me wishes life could just be more simple for all of us. We continue to complicate our lives in various ways, in the hopes of making it simpler, not knowing it kills a part of our humanity little by little.
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