The purpose of philosophy, if one call so would in its simplest expression to enable our minds to remain open, encourage us to question everything and motivate us to doubt everything and to be engaged in a constant process of refinement to our answers to the mysteries of life and the Universe.
This gist, with a tour of western world philosophy was in the most effective manner delivered by Jostien Gaarder in his book Sophie’s World.
Reading this book has been a personal favourite experience, for my evolution of philosophies and understanding has to a great extent tread the same path as the humanity has. From being brought up as a pious Hindu with idol worship and other superstitions, I took a step into interpreting religion as the worship of one formless, thus letting go the bindings of religion. ‘Either one God, or No God’, was my mantra during the transitionary phase of my theism. With increasing influence of Science, and the pursuit of rationalism and logic, I delved into the state of mind where it seemed quite obvious that Man created God, and not vice versa. My own question of ethics and its relation to religion seemed to take shape as a simple, personal ideology that I am convinved to follow, and live by.
Sophie’s World is remarkable in many ways.
The ease with which millennia of ideas pertaining to philosophy have been made comprehensive is a feat by itself. A gradual increment from one idea to another emphasising on the motives for the ‘philosophy project’, in a particular zeitgeist of society has been the missing piece of understanding philosophy. My previous attempt at philosophy ,with dialectic materialism was a non starter because the historical context of the ideas are not clear.
The problems haunting the inquisitory sense of us humans, can be quenched only at least we are engaged in pursuit of some of the questions about our own existence and that of the Universe.
A peek into the sky at night, with the curtain of glittering stars , beyond a spectacle, is as if I am standing and staring at the mystery of the world. The questions which can arise from this sight are disturbing, in a pleasant way. The sheer number of these stars, the light years of distance, the expanse and our contemplation of this wonder! I wonder, how can a mind not wonder at itself when engaged in the wonder of universe.
The faculty of wonder, that which is bestowed to us, and that is manifested while we are infants has to be carried on and must be used as the forceps using which we must probe into the Universe, seeking gratification in reason and comprehension. That again is the purpose of Philosophy!