Who is a Philosopher Anyway?

The realm of education is a sphere whose boundaries are flexible and are perpetually expanding to include esoteric areas known to few and understood only by a handful. Beneath the veneer of ostensible enlightenment lies the grim fact that we are distancing ourselves from the real learning, whose profoundness and depth is not even remotely captured by the modern temples of education and learning. The model of education was founded on the merits of expansive rote learning and was perfected by the existing norm of using it as means of earning a livelihood. The idea gained currency with jobs being scarce and money being sacrosanct, and becoming the sole measure of success. In short, it laid the foundation stone of prevailing mores and dictums and life as we know it today.


This is the simplistic view of an outsider sitting on the ringside of society. A view shared by many who mull over the vacuity of life and spend their time probing the whys and wherefores of existence. An outsider whom we, at best, brand as a philosopher and labeled looser, unfit for the mainstream existence and at worst, a social outcast whose lot is little better then an escaped convict and a lunatic.


A philosopher, whose job description as text book defines it, involves rumination on the reasons of our stay on planet Earth, and who tries to navigate the complexities of life, with sole aim to hit upon an expedient that will put an end to unceasing tussle of rights and wrongs in our mind. A person who sketches the answers to the eternal questions of TO DO or NOT TO DO that frequently arise during troubled times, which ache in our conscious frequently.


Brushing the rhetoric and hyperbole elements aside and coming directly to the heart of the matter, where in lies the crux of the philosophy and all the extensions and associations arising from it. Who are philosophers? What exactly are they reflecting on? Does their serious meditation bears any tangible results, capable of altering and influencing the lives of people? Is it a sleight of a hand- bringing a rabbit out of a hat, or another gimmick by an idle mind to bide the time which lies heavily on some of the people’s hands? Do the philosophers ought to bear any likeness to astute and genius minds like that of Socrates, who is gone with the civilizations, of which they were of central importance, or there is no touch stone at all for philosophers, with each left on its own to carve a niche for itself and start a new school of thought.


Now, these are tough philosophical nuts- difficult to comprehend and crack. What we are endeavoring is akin to solving the greatest philosophical juggernaut of all times- comprehending the mind of God. For, trying to fathom the workings and gauging the impact of philosophical musings is equivalent to finding the ways to know the elusive ideal of God itself


To give a fresh perspective to this now so jaded argument is a brief reminder of the fact


that philosophers are not professionals paid to reflect and discourse on the loft ideals of life. They are not disjointed from other disciplines of learning (How can you glib about life without living it?) They are neither outcast, nor financially poor as the popular view goes. They are rational and logical, who will respond to addition of two and two with four as the answer; not five or three.


We are all philosophers, even if we deny it or try to re fashion it as intellectualism. The mere act of thinking makes us part of the coterie club. All we have to do is embrace it with the respect and dignity which it merits. Thinking, after all, is a mark of evolved species, so why sacrilege it with scorn and ridicule, which are the archetypal responses it elicits these days?


Geetu Batra



[Image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tmartin/32010732/]