By Ilias Siakaras,
Our contemporary way of living is mostly consumed by a hunt for wealthiness, combined with the constant effort to be either successful or respected. These two are some of the modern habits that usually cause a lot of stress along the way and, even after they have been established, they have already managed to turn stress into a permanent condition, potential to haunt us for as long as we live. “Stress”, here, is used as an example, so as to point out an alternative worldview and the benefits that it could have on human beings.
Initially, it is essential to clarify that indulging in a description of a so-to-be philosophical lifestyle, does not mean that we have to quit our jobs or try and change our current lifestyle — cutting off certain habits since these are related to our quality of life; although what we should do, is rethink about what constitutes ‘‘success’’ nowadays, changing our mindset ideally towards a philosopher’s way of living.
First and foremost, I believe that, especially in the past, greater individual freedom existed thanks to values such as tolerance, and contemplation, which were kept to their highest form of being, especially in ancient Greece; when globalization and perpetual competing were worlds apart and people did not leave inside a mental prison, in which they did not have the time to contemplate about their lifestyle.
What we should bear in mind is that contemplating is definitely related to a philosopher’s well-being and freedom such as Plato, since he did not have a goal of achieving success associated with money, but mental wealthiness and achieving the latter while expanding the range of knowledge through reading books. Plato’s way can be argued to have been the only way of shaping a ‘‘mature’’ viewpoint. The picture below depicts some of the aforementioned values which obstruct us from having critical thinking, which is vital to questioning, as a modern philosopher would do.
It would be an omission if the reformation of philosophy in education was not mentioned. To elaborate, there is an urgent need for the educational system to upgrade it as a class due to the fact that few hours are being allotted for philosophy contrary to other lessons such as mathematics. At the same time, students assume that this is an insignificant lesson and do not show any interest in it.
In addition to the above, it would be beneficial if teachers received guidance material and did not focus on teaching the basics but showing to the students how ideas of philosophers, for instance, how Immanuel Kant’s ‘‘a priori principles’’ contributed to evolving science from 18th century to its contemporary form.
Last but not least, another reason that philosophy has to be re-introduced into our lives, is associated with the source of knowledge. People should always question, as Socrates used to do, on the grounds that there is an unlimited source of information available on the internet and it is up to the people to control which knowledge contributes to mental maturity. However, this process needs time and reading books perpetually, a practice which young people have put aside.