Love Philosophy in Action
Mothers Day in countries like US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Turkey, New Zealand celebrated yesterday, May 12th, 2019. Saudi Arabia, Oman, South America, Bahrain, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates celebrated on the 10th of May, 2019. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it was celebrated on the fourth Sunday during the Lenten season. Despite their history of animosity, Ireland and the United Kingdom today are one in celebrating that which we all have in common – being born from the body of a female.
I fervently hope that you had a loving and involved mother. I hope that she taught you that you have value and that the world is a better place because you were born. I hope that you felt brave enough to live and worthy enough to defeat your challenges in life. Sadly, though, many do not grow up with their birth mother. Countries have policies that deny a mother the right to raise all of her children. Factions exist that see children as tools which denies both the mother and child basic human rights. Children are seen as threats for the future and as pawns for someone’s personal delights and perversions. Infant mortality is very much a problem in all countries, not just those with limited health care.
We should truly honor our mothers and their necessary part in the continuance of mankind when we honor the love and life that they represent. We cannot live in a divisive society and honor our mothers. We cannot tolerate terrorism and honor life. We cannot hate our neighbor without hating their mother and that definitely is dishonoring all mothers. I hope that yesterday you honored your own mother and the life she gave to you. Whether you live in a nation that is celebrating today or whether you ever even knew your mother, please take time to give thanks and show respect. The question is not how good a mother we had. The fact remains that without a mother, we would not exist. A mother is philosophy in action. To be a mother is love in action.
We often forget, however, that we are all mothers – even those considered male. You see, we all give birth to our thoughts and our actions. We are, in short, the mother of our own lives. Those lives are love in action – love for ourselves, our world, our neighbors. Ask yourself these three questions. How do I know what it is I think I know? How do I live that knowledge and how is it evident in my every action? Am I open to new knowledge?
“Philosophy begins in wonder.” Plato’s words may not seem like a very good definition of philosophy but they actually are the core of what philosophy is. The science of philosophy began the first time someone asked “Why?” By asking such a question they were giving birth to the possibility of a better future. In 1628 Rembrandt painted “The Two Philosophers”. It is a rather simple painting with two men sitting and conversing. One is holding a book while the other is pointing to something on a page of the book. It is a visual definition of philosophy. Discourse, questioning, and debating are the core of philosophy. Unlike other sciences which need a consensus to arrive at an answer, philosophy thrives on the difference of opinion.
When someone asks “What is justice?” or “What is freedom?” they are not just wanting someone to read words in a dictionary. They are seeking an in-depth understanding. The most important aspects of our lives need not only definition but context. How do these concepts function in our being and living? How can they be used? Are there any dangers associated with them? What other concepts are they related to and what are the implications of those connections?
The sculptor Auguste Rodin carved a man without clothing in 1880. The man is seated on a rock and appears to be thinking. Rodin’s sculpture, known as “The Thinker” is also a visual definition of philosophy. IN the search to know what we know and to be able to verify what we know, we must first strip away all preconceived thoughts. We must start our search for knowledge bare. Philosophy demands that we have good reason for believing.
The artist uses basic facts and then intuition to present his/her vision in a new and novel presentation. The theologian also uses known facts but then combines them with faith which cannot be proven; hence, the name. The philosopher seeks perhaps through intuition and certainly using faith to not only discover and believe but to know why we believe. “The business of philosophy is not to give rules but to analyze the private judgements of common reason,” stated philosopher Immanuel Kant.
Aristotle believed “All men by nature desire to know.” In our hurried, busy world, that may not still be the case. It would seem that many are content to follow and to do so without knowing, without thinking. Once thought to be a hallmark of adolescence, peer pressure has now extended to the masses of adults as well. Anything trending is considered to be good. This is why young people join terrorist groups. They are seeking community but also acceptance. It is also why people shy away from their own personal preferences and instead “go with the flow” in fashion trends, popular car models, etc.
What if the world of advertising suddenly took on a new client? What if every advertisement had to include something humanitarian, something of benefit to all mankind? Nepal was the victim of another earthquake within the past twenty-four hours. What if all advertisements for fast food restaurants today included ways to help these victims? What if every magazine advertisement for make-up included a self-affirmation to be happy in one’s unique image?
Philosopher Thomas Hobbes might very well have been the man to whom we can place the blame on materialism. “The value or worth of a man is, as of all things, his price.” Hobbes believed that physical matter is all there is and explained everything using matter in motion. “Words are wise men’s counters, but they are the money of fools.” Hobbes mechanistic philosophy was not completely accurate but it served great purpose in future developments. He saw mental processes as movements of matter inside a person’s skull. Though incorrect, this set the stage for new ways of thinking. Hobbes introduced the theory of a physical basis for mental thought which is accurate. Thinking is not just an abstract; physical connections occur.
Considered a genius, the writer, art critic, and editor Denis Diderot once said: “The first step towards philosophy is incredulity.” I would add the first step towards living a full life is incredulity as well. When we allow ourselves to consider new thoughts, we give birth to new opportunities. We become the mother of our own future. Philosophy on paper is interesting but, as Hobbes said, they count for little until they become action.
Today, as you go through your busy life, take a moment to recognize the incredulity in your steps. Just as you honored the physicality of your birth and the woman who made it possible yesterday, honor your own future today. Enjoy the philosophy of being alive, of living, of knowing you are present in the moment. Even a small pebble can hold a world of mysteries if we but look and wonder.