Philosophy, The Hearth Of Learning

The subject of philosophy is very ancient. The word means “the love, study or pursuit of wisdom, or of knowledge of things and their causes, whether theoretical or practical.” All we know of science or of religion comes from philosophy. It lies behind and above all other knowledge we have or use. For long regarded as a subject reserved for halls of learning and the intellectual, the subject to a remarkable degree has been denied the man in the street. Surrounded by protective coatings of impenetrable scholarliness, philosophy has been reserved to the privileged few.

The first principle of my own philosophy is that wisdom is meant for anyone who wishes to reach for it. It is the servant of the commoner and king alike and should never be regarded with awe. Philosophy is that it must be capable of being applied. Learning locked in mildewed books is of little use to anyone and therefore of no value unless it can be used. Any philosophic knowledge is only valuable if it is true or if it works. This means only “knowing how to know.” A philosophy can only be a route to knowledge. It cannot be knowledge crammed down one’s throat. If one has a route, he can then find what is true for him. Know thyself—and the truth shall set you free.

One should share what wisdom he has, one should help others to help themselves and one should keep going despite heavy weather, for there is always a calm ahead. One should also ignore catcalls from the selfish intellectual who cries, “Don’t expose the mystery. Let’s keep it all for ourselves and dominate the others. The people cannot understand.” But as I have never seen wisdom do any good kept to oneself, and as I like to see others happy, and as I find the vast majority of the people can and do understand, I will keep on writing and working and teaching.

For I know no man who has any monopoly upon the wisdom of this universe. It belongs to those who can use it to help themselves and others. If things were a little better known and understood, we would all lead happier lives. And there is a way to know them and there is a way to freedom. The old must give way to the new, falsehood must become exposed by truth, and truth, though fought, always in the end prevails.

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