The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it. – Karl Marx
A friend once commented that reading philosophy is waste of time. Most of the things are absurd and are of absolutely no relevance to daily life. One doesn’t need philosophy to be happy in life!
Infact I agree with him. I think what man primarily needs to be happy is power. For example if you lose your cellphone and if you have the power (wealth here) to buy another without least hesitation that you don’t need to bother about it at all! On the other hand if you can’t buy another straight away and have to settle with another of lesser price you would philosophize that the principal use of cellphone is to communicate and other features are quite unnecessary. And if it’s not possible to buy another right away, one will say that hardly 10 years back none had these devices and yet all were quite content!!
Philosophy is thus the rationalization of human weakness which makes allowance of the fact that we’re not all-powerful and its okay to err sometimes. A Superman doesn’t need philosophy because he can do whatever he wishes to without any hesitation.
But power in this modern democratic society comes from understanding how the world works! This understanding comes from a philosophical insight on how things happen around from which arises our own perspective towards things. To gain power, we must understand how our system works and how we can influence it to our favour.
Thus, philosophy is relevant precisely because we’re bound by limitations and we don’t possess the power to do anything under sun. But to a very large extent, philosophy informs us on why it’s unrealistic to aim super-high and how that is to be rightly called insanity.
Is it possible to conquer the whole world for every Tom, Dick and Harry? Even Alexander the Great conquered only half of the known world back then. Hence, man can’t live with unsatisfied desires with his limited power. Thus, philosophy informs us that true conquest is that of self thus making man sane and logical at the same time.
Philosophy is making man adaptable to the largely perplexing order of the world. It gives him unity and order amidst chaos and confusion. It de-programs us from the chains of prejudiced-mind and frees us from the bondage that keeps get firmer by unquestioningly absorbing all since birth.
For example, we keep preaching that altruistic love and sacrifice is the aim of life while we are intensely practical and selfish people overwhelming concerned only with ourselves. Nobody ever questions on how such a deep disconnect can be there between what religions seem to preach and what men continue to practise. A little philosophy helps here. It has to be known that man IS a selfish animal, and yet his activities must never overlap or infringe upon another man’s rational selfishness. His selfishness is okay with the boundaries of society’s overall harmony.
Science appears to progress rapidly whereas philosophy’s influence is not so directly perceived by many commoners. But it is mistake to consider philosophy an idle man’s pastime. Questions such as what is evil and good are not yet open to science. It is philosophy’s domain. Historically, philosophy has been the force that “moves the movers” of civilization. (moves the great people who changed mankind)
That the philosophy of Karl Marx moved the whole of 20th century with the splendid rise of communism is testimonial to the fact that philosophy is the undercurrent of all activities on earth. Such is its power that even those with unabashedly evil motives such as Nazi Germany found it worthy to cover their inhuman acts through philosophy of Frederich Nietzsche.
So on second thoughts, I explained my friend, he is wrong and philosophy is indeed needed for happiness because only that gives us real power.