How Philosophy Can Help in Everyday Life
When you think of philosophy, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? You might think that it’s the kind of knowledge that’s far removed from reality. Indeed, it’s often criticized as society has a tendency to view it as of little use today. However, we’re going to go against this idea and explain, in a simple way, how philosophy can help you in everyday life.
In fact, we want to bring you closer to the idea that philosophy can be a practical discipline. After all, many types of therapies are based on philosophical ideas.
Philosophy and limiting situations
We’ve all gone through certain unmanageable situations. They’re part of being human. Faced with the anguish or despair that they can cause, you might seek to find meaning or a solution to these problems. This is where philosophy appears in the form of reflection and questions that make you think. Indeed, it’s said that this discipline prioritizes questions and not answers.
However, you might find yourself thinking, why do you want more questions if what you’re looking for is a way out of the situation you’re in? In response, we can say that philosophy, with its questions, opens up new perspectives with which you can think about your problem. Eventually, with a change of viewpoint, you may well be able to come up with a possible solution. Above all, it’s important to highlight that, although philosophical questions can’t give you an answer, they can be part of the solution.
Argumentation and knowledge
One of the main themes of philosophy is argumentation. This is understood to be the issuance of judgments or opinions for or against certain issues, always based on logical arguments. You might wonder what this has to do with everyday life. Well, you’re permanently giving reasons for or against certain issues. This might be in dialogues with other people, concerning your preferences or beliefs, or when you want to convince someone of something.
Therefore, if argumentation is a daily practice, it’s advisable to exercise it in such a way that you’re able to find contradictions in what others tell you or in what you think. By doing this, you’ll be able to reflect on the opinions, reasons, and beliefs of both yourself and others.
The ancients claimed that this exercise, which they understood as putting into practice philosophical teachings, was really important. This was due to the fact that it turns a theory into a habit. Therefore, you can aspire to a way of life according to your thoughts and prioritize actions over words. This leads you to be more rational and sensible when speaking.
Traditionally, the greatest exponent (although not the only one) of this daily practice was Socrates. We know that refutation, the method of finding contradictions in a set of arguments was part of his daily life. Through dialogue, he generated knowledge in his interlocutor, and they learned new things or changed their established beliefs and opinions.
Philosophy in everyday life
Often, you feel sadness, pain, anger, confusion, or fear that can affect your daily life. Another viewpoint with which you can modify these emotions and possibly find a solution comes from the Stoics. The representatives of this kind of thought postulated that some realities depend on us but others don’t and are beyond our capabilities.
For instance, here are some of the things over which you don’t have complete control:
- Your body.
- Your reputation.
- The future.
- Your friends.
- The past.
On the other hand, some of the elements over which you have the most control are your thoughts, beliefs, and convictions. In fact, you’re usually correct when you use your energy to work on your emotions, intervening in what you think or believe. The rest is external and you can’t do anything about it. Once you understand this, all the feelings that hindered your daily life will no longer do so, as you start to concentrate on changing your interior.
“There is, I assure you a medical art for the soul. It is philosophy, whose aid need not be sought, as in bodily diseases, from outside ourselves. We must endeavour with all our resources and all our strength to become capable of doctoring ourselves.”
In light of Cicero’s quote, you can see that philosophy is useful because it allows you to heal yourself. In fact, by analyzing your thoughts and convictions, you become aware of what you tend to do on a daily basis without thinking. It gives you the ability to change your irrational beliefs and turn rational ones into a habit.
The wonder in the day to day
The rapidity with which changes are taking place today leaves you little room for thought. Thus, one of the first motivations of philosophy is to encourage you to stop. When you do so, it gives you reinforcement, in the form of results.
But, why do you need to question yourself or what surrounds you? The answer is that, without questioning your everyday thoughts, you can’t move forward. Therefore, you should use philosophy as a way of problematizing reality, to disarm those things that seemed to be true and transform them into other new truths.
As you can see, the field of philosophy should no longer be considered as merely containing old and outdated knowledge. In reality, it’s a completely different matter. Don’t you agree?It might interest you...
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- Elorduy, E. (1970). El estoicismo. Arbor, 77(300), 315.