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What is philosophy
Philosophy can be defined as a way of thinking that seeks awareness about the primary elements of thought. Let’s try to understand this definition by examining the things it says.
Philosophy is “a way of thinking”. From the beginning of their existence, men have always tried to reflect; even in animals we can notice some rudimentary forms of reflection; let’s consider, for example, the difference in behavior between a few weeks old doggy and an adult dog: the doggy tends to react to situations with a faster impulsiveness, which leads him to a number of failures; the adult dog, instead, is able to observe more slowly the habits of his prey and to adapt to them, in order to have more success in the attempt to capture it; of course, these are elements so difficult to verify, that we cannot say for sure if it is really and how far we can speak of “reflection”; however, our purpose here is not to study the behavior of animals, but to try to realize that reflection is not a mysterious and supernatural miracle that happens exclusively in the human mind, but a set of elementary electrical impulses, whose simplest forms can also be found in animals, or even, due to the fact of being precisely electrical impulses, in any nature’s phenomenon and in inanimate objects: we may even think, as an example, to the switching on of a light bulb. In the history of the world’s various peoples, many ways of thinking have been developed and philosophy is one of them.
Then, the definition that I posed at the beginning says, “that seeks awareness”. “Awareness” means having compared an idea with other ideas; for example, if I compare the idea of flame with the memory of a burn that I suffered, I can gain the knowledge that the flame causes burns and is therefore dangerous; if I will never do this comparison, that is, if I will never put in contact the idea of flame with the memory of my being burnt, I will return every time to burn myself, never figuring out where the problem lies. How many times we humans fall back into the same problems as stupids, simply because we have not thought about it, we did not put in contact the ideas, the memories, and so we didn’t gain awareness! Consider, for example, for how many thousands of years many governors continued to deceive people, by promising to solve their problems, and people go back regularly to burn themselves, although they consider themselves intelligent people.
Finally, my definition ends by saying: “about the primary elements of thought”. Awareness, in fact, can be searched with regard to many things; one can also spend a lifetime trying to become increasingly aware of the best ways to earn more money; at some point, in him or in someone else, the following question could rise: is it worth to spend all life trying to find out just this? Are there other more important things, that would deserve more this spending of time and reflection, or all things are equally important? What might be the most important things? And what criteria will I use to determine this? And what faith could I have in these criteria? How will I know that they guided me really to the most important things? This kind of questions can be found in the cultures of all peoples, but they had a systematic examination only starting from ancient Greece and then in the European culture; in other peoples they took quite the way of religious faith or of models of meditation; the difference between meditation and reflection can be found in the fact that the meditator focuses on a few ideas and lives them, tastes them, goes into them by a lifestyle; who reflects, on the contrary, works on a greater number of ideas and makes them interact with greater dynamism; both ways have advantages and disadvantages: the meditator discovers better the taste of a few ideas and pauses longer, even for millennia, over them, but covers a less amount of road; who reflects covers a lot more road, but deprives himself of the opportunity to deepen to the utmost the flavor, the beauty, the depth of every single thought, similar to those who run and cannot contemplate the beauty of the landscape.