I began to explore a possibility. That life could be learned from those who had lived in earnest and captured it in their literature. Like it is with any subject. To study philosophy is to study life, and its counterpart, death.
Does the fact millennia of time has spanned between their life and mine change how much they knew then, or how little I know now?
Understandably people think, “Philosophy? I don’t even know what philosophy means, in fact I’m pretty sure I’m not interested in philosophy, it sounds boring.” At one time I was daunted by this four-syllable word, not knowing the truth of the world was hidden within this disciplines of subject.
This was how I felt about philosophy, even after 12 years of socialized education. Which, I might add, was not an education experience I enjoyed. However, allow me to reassure you that philosophy and it’s logical (and sometimes illogical) arguments will rarely bore you.
To me it seems the most difficult to master, and yet most creative of all the arts. While at the same time, the most mystifying and elaborate of all the sciences. There is nothing we do as humans which does not involve life, or for that matter, death to some extent.
As Socrates says, “Ordinary people seem not to realize those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly, and of their own accord, preparing themselves for dying and death.”
Have you heard this saying? “Failure to prepare, is the same as preparing to fail.”
With that thought in mind shouldn’t I prepare to live and die in a way I determine to be true? Should I learn from the lessons of these ancient masters, or discard their work in hopes I can find my own way?
Aristotle wrote in its defense to a friend, “let not the youngest shun philosophy or the oldest grow weary of it. To do so is equivalent to saying either that the time for a happy life has not yet come, or that is has already passed.”
Neither of those things can be said about me. I am willing to learn, and I plan to continue to study the art and science, or philosophy of life, until my last breath.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from ancient philosophers. Got one of your own? Leave a comment below.