“What is the meaning of life?”
Almost ever since time began, humans have been wondering this all-important question. And, while we have yet to find an answer (or perhaps we have found way too many), on World Philosophy Day, it’s time to sit down and ponder this and life’s other great questions.
So, grab that healthy cup of tea and a seat as we unpack what philosophy really is and how (and why) you can celebrate World Philosophy Day 2019.
What is philosophy, anyway?
Philosophy comes from the Greek word philosophy, meaning a ‘love of wisdom.’ The study seeks to uncover the mysteries and meanings behind life, its everyday challenges, and bigger questions.
It inspires how we think and forms the beliefs we hold about the world and can initiate solutions to both personal and global issues – migration, social policy, environmental changes, science, medicine, and so much more.
It can be understood as everything from the backing of the Communist Revolution in the USSR, backed by Marxist-Leninist philosophy, to whether you pack your groceries in a reusable cloth bag or a plastic one, and everything in between.
That’s why the third Thursday in November is dedicated to this important field of study, and here’s what you can do to honor it.
World Philosophy Day Activities
Relax the mind and meditate
To be able to absorb the full power of philosophy and unlock something new within yourself, first, you need to get yourself in the right mindset. A little meditation time can be the perfect way to do just that.
- Find a quiet place, one where you won’t be disturbed for at least thirty minutes.
- Next, make yourself comfortable. Perhaps you love the classic Lotus Pose, or maybe you feel more at ease lying down. Choose which works for you, take your position.
- Deep breaths. Let the oxygen flow into your body; this will help your mind work better. Breathe in deeply through your nose, hold for one second and out through your mouth.
- Time for that wisdom. Choose a piece of philosophy that speaks to you; it can be something you’ve read, heard or seek, and meditate on it.
Need some inspiration? These are our favorite quotes to get you started:
- “Cogito, ergo sum” or in English “I think, therefore, I am” – René Descartes
- “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man” – Heraclitus
- “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” – Socrates
- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle
- “Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly” – Francis Bacon
Work those intellectual muscles
Now, that you’ve got started, you can boost your Brainiac power with the help of a little more in-depth learning. Grabbing a moment or 30 to read a book, not only helps boost your concentration, it opens your mind to a world of new thinking.
These are our top 3 philosophy must-reads for beginners:
Tao Te Ching by Laozi
This classic was written in the 4th century BC. Although the wisdom contained in its pages is old, many have found it helpful for addressing today’s personal philosophical and ethical debates, as it deals with goodness and integrity.
Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
Published in 1886, Nietzsche’s work addresses the conflicts of morality, self-exploration, and power, and what this means for the modern human.
Metaphysics by Aristotle
Dealing with everything that is beyond the physical, Aristotle’s classic seeks to answer the questions of ‘being.’ It has inspired many philosophers throughout the centuries, including Muslim philosophers, Greeks, and Dante.
Boost those social skills with debates
There’s no doubt that social health is one of the pillars of overall well-being, that’s why today, it’s time to engage of one of the best brain-boosting, heart-pumping activities out there – the philosophical debate.
Grab a couple of like-minded friends or find a local debate club and get ready to ruminate on the great arguments of life itself.
Debating is a great skill, not only for building your social confidence, but also for widening your mind to the perspective of others. And what better opportunity than right now?