Key Shared Insights & Perspectives
Material Science vs. Philosophy
One of the major distinctions between material science and philosophy is that science seeks knowledge and makes us feel more comfortable than philosophy because it offers a concrete process and answers. Philosophy, on the other hand, seeks wisdom, breaks things down and focuses on the unknown.
Melissa explains, “I feel that a lot of people need knowledge to give them security. So institutions tell you enough to make you feel secure. Philosophy is not that way. Philosophy is scary. Because you're telling people there's so many questions left unanswered.”
Tim admits at the beginning of all his speeches, “I don't know anything - now what's my best guess?"
Agnes adds, “We all like liking each other, and we all like getting along and kind of praising one another...there’s just a deep way in which philosophy isn’t that.”
Data vs. Stories
Humans have a basic need for a story or narrative to frame their beliefs and philosophy plays a role in helping people find a more meaningful narrative.
Tim feels the deep questioning of things (ie. philosophy) will create a new narrative, “one that holds together and can embrace the spectrum and ambiguity of my experience of life and what I see of others’ experiences of life.”
Melissa adds, “If you tell a human being this is the data that supports why you are the way you are, the human being would actually need it to be translated into a story in order for it to have any impact on their lives.”
As we came at the end of the hour, our group ended the discussion in the same way we started, with a tour de table. Each participant had the opportunity to reflect on what they heard and share their take-aways from the conversation.
Final Thoughts to Consider
Most of us discover philosophy while studying in college or high school. But do we look at philosophy, in later years, to interpret the world around us?
We must remember that what makes us human is the meaning we give to our experiences.
Inherent in this realization is the ability for us to look at the world objectively through our own set of experiences, rather than subjectively through a set of experiences that have been molded and framed by the institutions around us.
Thus, Philosophy done right should be uncomfortable and unsettling as we step into the unknown and uncertainty and use it to help us interpret ourselves with, perhaps, the vision of living a more authentic life.