Zia Hassan

Be A Philospher Find A Philosopher

+++ title = “11” date = 2018 +++

For most of my life, I assumed that being a philosopher required a doctorate, and perhaps a following. Mountains of writing in language that only the most intellectual among us can understand, and most of all, status.

A few years ago, I was having lunch with a spiritual leader in DC and we were trying to categorize a particular writer, and basically deciding whether or not this writer was a philosopher or just a writer. That spurred a discussion about what it means to be a philosopher.

We went back and forth a bit, but eventually we came to the conclusion that being a philosopher is mostly about asking questions about the nature of society or the universe or whatever it is. Interrogating assumptions and developing new thoughts about the underlying concepts.

That means there are far more philosophers in the world from whom you can seek wisdom than we ever realized. Your friends, your family, your favorite musicians, artists, elected officials (and unelected officials) make great philosophers. Why is their wisdom less valuable than Plato?

You can be a philosopher in daily conversation. You can also seek out the philosophy in those conversations and elevate the voices of subtle philosophers, especially the ones that society has marginalized.

Take it a step farther and write down interesting interrogations of ideas that you hear. Keep a file on your phone/notebook. Your own personal philosophy library.

That’s an idea that is as empowering as it is comforting.