From ancient days, a philosopher has been defined as a man who is blind, on moonless night in a house that is completely dark, searching for a black cat which is not there.
The idea and origins of philosophy, “love of wisdom”, is beautiful. Yet, in practice, philosophy has become an intellectual game, wholly abstracted from daily living.
Plato praised wonder as the foundation of the philosophical journey…
“For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.”
However, if philosophy is born from wonder than it is killing its mother. Philosophy may begin in wonder, but it then cuts off its own vitality by trying to conceptualize and understand things through thinking, through mental activity.
He is stupid who is clever.
Especially with the movement of philosophy into academia and universities, it has become an intellectual hobby, rather than the existential life or death matter which it truly is. Anemic academics have turned the vocation of philosophy into an absurd joke, endlessly analyzing and dissecting ridiculous and inane moral dilemmas. The reverence for wonder, for simplicity, for the depths of life has been lost.
This happens because true philosophy is a dangerous profession. Socrates was poisoned; and The Buddha left his palace, his home, and his family; while Jesus was crucified. The lover of Truth and Reality is a threat to a society so invested in lies, illusions, and dreams.
This decay is the natural course of philosophy. Philosophy inevitably is deteriorating because of the inherent limitation of thought and the mind to grasp Truth or Reality. Philosophy is ultimately a dead end, and when you reach the end of the road, when the road runs up against the brick wall – you can bang your head against the wall or discover other ways and means of being on the other side of the wall.
In the case of understanding or knowing Truth and Reality – which is the purpose of philosophy – there is only one thing to do: move out of the horizontal dimension of thought and into the vertical dimension of Being.
Sit down and be silently aware.
The fundamental and perennial questions of life and death have never and will never be solved by sitting around and arguing and talking. The practice of philosophy is all well and good when talking about politics, society, etc. but is totally inadequate to touch upon the ultimate questions – life, death, morality, identity….. Those require meditation.
Philosophy ultimately dead ends into religion. Real religion, not the psuedo-religion we are normally exposed to; but a rigorous discipline and inquiry into the nature of existence and oneself with the aim of knowing who or what you are in essence.
There are two types of knowing:
Knowing by thinking – which is logically, through time, memory, and the past. Which is relative and can never know anything in essence, anything beyond the surface of things.
And knowing by Being – which is knowing something because you are it. Knowing that comes from nowhere, no-thing. It is knowing through identity; through a direct perception of the nature of things. The knower, known, and knowing are one.
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
― Meister Eckhart
The true philosopher, the real lover of wisdom, will one day realize that to really Know he will have to disappear, that he will have to lose his head. He will have to leave behind all that he has gathered, all that he has known, and walk across the abyss.
He will enter the cloud of unknowing and dissolve into that cloud.
The true philosopher is even ready to leave behind philosophy in order to be Truth.