What's Your Compass?
Without a goal or a guide, life is nothing but aimless wandering...
Most people’s conception of philosophy is that it is a dry academic subject of little to no practical value. Certainly, any review of articles in philosophy journals would support the view that it is all incomprehensible gibberish produced by pedantic navel-gazers.
When you look at the roots of philosophy in history, a different picture emerges. The word philosophy derives from the Greek word for “love of wisdom”. A philosopher, therefore, is a lover of wisdom. But wisdom about what? About living life, of course! Everyone who is interested in learning how to live their life is a philosopher; no degree is required.
Philosophy, as it was originally created in the early Greek and Roman times, was intensely focused on teaching its adherents their view of the purpose of life and how best to live it. The Stoic school of philosophy, in particular, has been probably the most long-lasting and most influential of all the variations and still lives strong today in such clinical practices as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is widely practiced to help people cope with stress and anxiety, and redirect errant behavior.
That purpose and those guidelines for living can be viewed as a compass and the rudder of a ship, the ship being you on your journey through life. Having a view of why you are alive and having the means to steer your life around shoals and through the storms of living makes you eminently more prepared than the vast majority of people who are lacking both.
For these unfortunate souls, life is truly a mystery. Lacking a compass or rudder, they live for today and for their own immediate gratification and are often anxiety-prone and emotional as a result, knowing that there is something missing in their lives but not knowing what it is or how to obtain it.
In my writing, I will be discussing what I have learned from my application of both philosophy and psychology to my life and how this has helped me live what I believe to be a “good” life. With the understanding of good has also come a recognition of not only what is bad but also what is evil and how philosophy can be a shield and sword against that evil.
Life is the struggle between good and evil, though most will never recognize the battle around them, let alone the battle within themselves, which is the source of both.