Mission statement (2)

TO ACHIEVE these degrees of freedom you need the courage to wonder and ask questions about all that you usually take for granted - for courage is what it takes to abandon the safety of boredom and carelessness. And it is the sense of wonder where philosophy begins, as Aristotle most famously explained.

You also need the perseverance to learn and understand, which means making a serious effort. You actually have to go out there, do things, interact with the world, experience it, and reflect upon your experiences.

Furthermore, you need to give up your favourite prejudices. This also means forgoing any religious or metaphysical expectation that you will ultimately be able to reach or establish some fundamental and universal truth. The philosopher's world has neither some unshakable foundation, nor some encompassing end - for it reflects and should reflect the precarious infinity, unfinishedness and undeterminedness of the human life form within the limitations of its natural history - as Nietzsche rightly pointed out, too. It's still just us - but since it's all we've got, let's give it our best shot!

And finally: you'll need others who help you along the road. Had you been completely on your own from birth or early childhood (like a feral child), you either would not have survived, or you would not have developed beyond the level of an inarticulate brute. Either way: you would not have been here to read this. The philosopher's world is a human world, and a human world is almost entirely the product of other humans than yourself. Even what you think of as your own identity, as 'you', your thoughts, your emotions, your dexterity, your convictions, may, on close inspection, turn out to be something alien. Either it is the biological heritage of unknown numbers of generations before you, or it is the socially transmitted heritage of countless and mostly anonymous contributors to the culture you were born into, and which you just happened to appropriate during your lifelong education. Nothing wrong with that, but don't boast of your authenticity too easily...

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“He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god...” (Aristotle, Politics 1, 1253a)