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  • Writer's pictureJerome Michael McLaughlin

If philosophy is dead, how come I keep thinking about it?

Nobody really cares about philosophy much these days.

Who has the time?Who wants to become bogged down in heavy thinking when there is so much that needs to be considered just to get through the day. We may have also come to believe modern life has advanced to such an elevated degree that we no longer need such ponderous reflection.

And yet,…

You practice philosophy every day. What you think, how you dress, how you engage with the world, how you look at events that occur in your life both big and small,…the very manner in which you live your life on a daily basis is philosophy, YOUR philosophy. It is how you imagine the world for you, and it is how you want the world to imagine you.

How did I come to develop my own philosophy?

That’s not a simple question. Some of it is somehow just,…there. Much of it is a continuation of your upbringing. Hopefully, a good chunk of it was learned from the lessons of those who came before and absorbed willfully with conscious intent. The rest is a random assortment of past, present, and future considerations lightly filtered and applied to our daily existence in an almost reflexive manner.

Can it change? Well, that’s up to you, and only you.

Some people go through radical transformations about who they are, who they want to be, and how they wish to engage with others and the world. Other people evolve over time, settling into certain modes and patterns that constitute their life, fine-tuning at the margins. While still others never give it a second thought. They just drift and let life move them along praying they avoid crashing into the rocks or getting tossed over the falls.

In the end, you’re in control.

When we are not endlessly distracting ourselves with phones, apps, entertainment, messaging, social media and the like, we can find ourselves asking questions quietly to ourselves. Some are quite serious, others more mundane. But each must be important for they arise without being consciously summoned. These little moments are vital to the formation of our “self” on an ongoing basis. They are the important subjects our conscious (or subconscious) mind is mulling over seeking clarity and looking for guidance.

Reflexively we often turn away from these surfacing thoughts because they cause anxiety, or force us to slow down and reflect when we don't have the time. They can seem too big to address without causing undue stress upon our life.

Many questions won’t have answers. At least not simple ones. The recurring arrival of questions without answers can make us nervous or anxious. That’s ok. EVERY person alive must deal with their own. We don’t necessarily talk about it openly or inject it into everyday conversation, but we all have them. Everyone who has ever lived has had their own list.

These questions are the guiding lights of existence. They shine the beam onto those things that are important to us. They aren’t necessarily going to be resolved, only to remind – to let us know what has meaning and elements of purpose.

There are only so many minutes in the day (and in a life), how we choose to spend each of them determines who we are. It establishes our individual philosophy. It guides each of us on our own path daily.

If asked, do you think you could write your own philosophy down?

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