Philosophy As Art

Philosophy is an art form that has been lost.  You go talk to a philosopher now and they try to pretend that they have a scientific pursuit, that they have evidence and that they are important.  Philosophy has forgotten itself in its technicality and attempts to be scientific, philosophy has forgotten an important part of it’s own meaning.

Philosophy isn’t just search for pure wisdom, philosophy isn’t saying “I want to know everything.” Philosophy is a love of wisdom, in the most general sense you could imagine.  “sophia” the “wisdom” part of the word philosophy in Ancient Greek meant both technical knowledge in crafts/trades from carpentry to music and everything between and the way that English speakers tend to understand wisdom.  Think about that, this simple word could mean a love of technical abilities in crafts like brick-laying to music making or, for the straight-forward philosopher, in life.  I think that says something, philosophy is the love of art, the love of a specific art, the art of living.  Philosophy is not trying to build metaphysical justifications for our justification which apply across the entire globe, philosophy is practicing and loving the art of life.  Philosophy is taking everything you want out of yourself and the world around you, making it all align with yourself and your values and then fostering this in others.  Much like growing a garden.

In order to work through this let’s examine someone deciding to make themselves a garden.  They first have to define their garden space, what is the world in which this garden going to thrive? Is it going to be a container of some sort, a simple plot in the ground, a large plot and any of those types of questions.  Next they have to figure out what they want to grow in their garden with reference to climate/environment too.  Then one has to think about the best time/way to cultivate those plants.  After the seeds have been placed at the right time they have to be taken care of too. In general watered, the never ending fight against weeds and overall, nurtured.  Now the seeds are sprouting even!  One has to be very careful now to give the proper amount of attention and water to these sprouts and keeping the weeds under control entirely still, not to mention maybe thinning the sprouts out.  This process takes time and the plants will steadily grow and strengthen to fully matured plants.  One still can’t relax at this point either though.  Now you’ve got to keep the maturing plants under control and prune them back, cut out the weak/dead parts and possibly thin them out even more and prepare for harvest (assuming you have that type of plant) or for whatever the fruits of your labor may be, and still keep the weeds away.  Finally the time has arrived! You can now pick your fruits, veggies, grains, beans, flowers whatever it may be and enjoy them thoroughly, just make sure to keep everything in check still for the next planting season!

Philosophy is a disappearing art it seems, much like growing a garden is an art that is disappearing, and you can see the push back in groups like the “preppers” who advocate growing your own garden, or those that are attempting to be more sustainable in their lives.  Philosophy in the universities/academia seems to have lost it’s artistic soul, especially in places with an analytic philosophy background.  Philosophy has stopped being something that students can really serious relate to and philosophy students themselves are basically ridiculed and always on edge of losing their studies due to college cuts and no one appreciating the art of philosophy: the art of life.

As an undergraduate student in philosophy this is how I feel, this is my interpretation of philosophy and this is how I will try to bring out philosophy to others.  There is a magnificence in life which philosophy appreciates in a certain way that other viewpoints don’t use.  They aren’t wrong, just different and it is important that everyone is aware of as many different viewpoints as possible and that these viewpoints remain accessible and in existence so that we can come to  a better understanding of ourselves, our world and our place(s) in this crazy place.

Philosophy commands me to take care of the garden of my life, philosophy provides me with various seeds I can choose to plant and the basic instructions of how to get them to grow and take care of them, but only I can actually do the work of planting, caring for and harvesting the fruits of my own garden.  Philosophy may not be for everyone but it is important to be aware of some of the tools that philosophy can provide and how philosophy can sometimes cross over into other subjects.

So, go out and plant your garden, paint your picture, sculpt your statue and create art in and of your own life.


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