by Mark Abraham
If you ask one
hundred people to elaborate on their understanding of the term “philosophy,” you
would probably get a hundred different answers. The philosopher might treat a
philosophical subject and what objectives one pursues in developing a particular
brand of philosophy depending on how he or she perceives it. Not having a
unified understanding of this phenomenon, it is worthwhile for each philosopher
to depict his perception of what philosophy is. Often in real life, we observe
that certain thought systems acquire widespread acceptance, and then they create
opinions that sway a vast number of people in a certain direction with great
consequences. This can start trends that are good and constructive, if correct,
and very destructive, if incorrect. The spread of Communism in a universal scale
lends itself well as an example to illustrate this reality. From my perspective
a good philosophy should serve multiple needs. At one level, a philosophical
approach to something might unveil certain important hidden factors that,
because of their subtle nature, had passed unnoticed up until that point.
Detecting such phenomena might reveal valuable realities about important things.
Not knowing that which can be known can best be described as negligence, which
can cause momentous and preventable harm if not detected on time. At another
level, it could also unveil significant understanding of complex and seemingly
inexplicable phenomena from which the world could otherwise be deprived. For
example, at their early stages, detecting the force of gravity or the fact that
the earth circled around the sun and not the other way around were philosophy.
To use yet another example—the correlation between the musical notes and how
following that system could help us to create the periodic table of chemical
elements stemmed from this seemingly bizarre philosophical observation. Such
examples lend themselves perfectly well to understand this effect. Detecting
such hidden phenomena through philosophy that ultimately develop into science
can be beneficial to humanity and to the world at large. At another level, as
such facts are detected and explained through philosophy, we increasingly find
this chaotic world of ours more orderly. Through philosophy, we find answers to
questions, which, at one point, seemed impossible to understand.
For instance, just before Sir Isaac Newton discovered the force of gravity, the inquisitive minds not understanding this law could be utterly confused by observing how differently objects behave in relation to earth. In that when you release an elevated object, the object would travel toward the earth flawlessly. Yet another object under the right circumstances would not only not collapse but would also rise, such as water in a state of gas. The same object, water, in states of fluid, and hard objects, such as rain, snow, or hail, would fall back onto earth. Yet some of the other objects would float in the air, such as specks of dust do. Such diverse behavior of different objects without anyone being able to explain it rationally or scientifically presents a chaotic world seemingly beyond explanation.
However, when you identify the force that pulls all objects to itself, you get to understand why objects fall. When you get to learn about the laws of density, you learn why some objects rise, some fall, and others float in midair. All of it, up to this point, that explains such rules on seemingly unrelated subjects of the force of gravity, the weight of objects in relation to the weight of the air of the same volume, the principles that govern the density of objects in relation to one another, and so on are philosophies each pertaining to a different subject. When you manage to not only scientifically explain them but also accurately measure the force of gravity, this is elevated from the realm of philosophy to the realm of science. When you manage to elevate your understanding of the relationship between the weight of objects as compared to their volume and how they relate to one another, other such philosophical observations become science in different realms. And that introduces the order in this seemingly chaotic world of ours. Furthermore, as we acquire such understandings in different fields, each increases the potential of observing and solving other phenomenon, and collectively, we progress. Hence, cognition of this sort at the philosophical level explains ambiguities by which we understand our world.
Yet on another
level, we might be well aware of varying phenomena, each in its own merits.
However, there might be substantial indiscernible relationships between them, or
them, that escapes the attention. Regardless of whether or not we are aware of any such relationships, there might be profound cause and effect between them that we have not yet been able to decipher. A good philosophical mind and philosophy at large might help us detect them, again for us to reap the benefits and avoid harm. This is my understanding of what purposes philosophy could and should serve, and throughout the course of this work, these objectives will be pursued accordingly. I have come to firmly believe that momentous phenomena exists on what mental forces drive human conduct that continue to pass unnoticed with profound implications at all levels of human functions, which this philosophy intends to unveil.
The Marks of A Good Philosophy
A good philosophy must display a few important characteristics for it to qualify. These characteristics include relevance, accessibility, and accuracy. First, philosophy is often reduced to meaningless assertions devoid of any and all useful applications. Hence, to be a worthy philosophy, it must be relevant and lend itself to solving serious practical problems or clarify ambiguities to instill wisdom in individuals and to better human condition collectively in some way. To use an example, one might reduce philosophy to questioning whether there is any sound at all if a tree falls in the forest, where there is no one to hear it falling.
One wonders what practical purposes this, or any philosophy of this sort, could serve at all and why it merits to be explored. Furthermore, what is its relevance to anything at all? This and other such inquisitions can best be described as being frivolously playful and marginalizes the value of philosophy, as a whole, in the minds of many. This, in turn, can repel a good many people, who might otherwise be attracted to philosophy, anticipating to find something of value in it. Therefore, relevance is a very significant part of any good and serious philosophy.
Second, it needs
to be accessible. Often, one reads philosophical material imbued with abstract
thoughts from which hardly anything of value can be extracted. To be sure,
philosophy by nature can be complex and even difficult to fully grasp. This
being the case, it is incumbent upon the philosophers to try their best to
simplify their philosophies and make it accessible to the widest number of
people possible. In this regard, frequently one finds certain terms in the
writings of many a philosophers that are not fully understood even by those who
make earnest attempts to learn them. And frequently, you observe that even they
themselves are not very clear on the terms they so readily use. Despite that,
however, they treat such words as if they are the best-known phenomena. When we
use objects such as a street, a house, a car, shoes, and so on in any language,
the audience understands it perfectly well. However, that is not at all true in
the case of subjects such as wisdom, politics, rhythm, philosophy, instincts,
arts, love, hate, terrorism, civility and civilization, knowledge,
consciousness, will, and so on. Although we think they are readily understood,
they are not. Some philosophers use such terms as the cornerstones of their
thoughts without properly explaining what his or her understanding of the term
is or why that is a reasonable understanding and presume that these are
well-understood terms by all, and everyone has a common and accurate
understanding of them. This lack of common understanding of some pivotal terms
in any philosophy and psychology can render any such material inaccessible
When you ask people to please elaborate their understanding of any such words sampled above, most likely you will get different answers from each person on any of these terms and others like them. This indicates the lack of a comprehensive understanding on such words. When we construct a philosophy in which an exact understanding of the terms is a prerequisite for grasping the entire concept, the communication fails. Accuracy in the observation of the phenomena covered by the philosophy is another essential in any good philosophy. As it was
alluded to before, accuracy in philosophical observations exacts philosophical treatises and renders them pragmatic and useful.
However, its absence produces exactly the opposite. This accuracy is first measured by the soundness of logic that supports it, and second, it is measured by how well the different aspects of a complex philosophy fit together. The more this is maintained in constructing
a philosophy, the less hypothetical and the more scientific it becomes. This is why many claim that good philosophy is the mother of all sciences, and there might be some truth to that. Hence, being conscious of these factors, I have tried to follow these guidelines in developing this philosophy to the maximum extent possible.
In philosophy, you first make an observation based on realities of life. When this is done correctly, the observation can be supported by very many different empirical examples. In many cases, this plays the role of the required tests to verify the validity of the observation. Then you try to formulate an explanation of the subject woven with the most sound and relevant logic, facts, obvious trends, data, and so on; all of which, in unison, support the argument. In this regard, all the pertinent material becomes like the loops of a chain that join together and become a strong chain. Any single weak loop in this chain renders the whole chain weak and useless. This needs to be observed every step of the way, for any flaws in any of these loops render the structure of the philosophy weak, and the conclusions become wrong and even misleading. It is so because a weak structure in one of these steps ultimately leads to utterly wrong results.
To put it differently, any of these steps might derail a philosophy that has the appearance of profundity but, in fact, become meaningless, wrong, hollow, and even misleading. Drastically wrong conclusions can be derived from an improper reasoning in any of the steps in constructing a philosophy. To use another analogy, suppose you intend to draw two parallel lines starting at point A. Further, suppose that there is an exceedingly insignificant flaw from the start, so much so that it is indeed undetectable. This insignificant flaw a few miles down the line will become so very obvious that no one can ignore it even if they tried to do so.
This can also be
best illustrated through simple mathematical functions. As all of those who
understand the basics of mathematics know, we can multiply and divide both sides
of any mathematical equation by the same factor. Let us practice this
mathematical principle on the following simple equation:
X2-X2 = X2-X2
We can write the same equation as (X-X).(X+X) = X.(X-X). If you multiply the parenthesis and simplify the results, you would get the equation we started with. Now if we divide both sides of this equation by the factor of (X-X), this would be eliminated from each side of this equation. Then we would end up with (X+X) = X or 2X = X. If again, we divide the two sides of the last equation by the factor of X, we would end up with 2 = 1. If this were true indeed, it would turn the world as we know upside down. Of course, as we all know 1 does not equal 2. Otherwise, many would spend their lives handing out one-hundred-dollar bills and ask recipients to replace them with the equal amount of two one-hundred-dollar bills, for after all, they are equal, one and the same. However, no one with the right mind would enter such deals.
Every step in this mathematical practice is perfectly accurate. However, in one of the steps, there is a simple flaw that escapes the attention of most people, even many of those who hold a degree in mathematics. In that while we are allowed to multiply or divide both sides of an equation by the same factor, there is one single exception to this mathematical rule. We cannot multiply or divide the sides of any equations with 0. It is so because any number divided by -0- becomes infinity. Thus, the result of 1,000,000,000 or one divided by zero is one and the same, infinity, and that makes all numbers equal.
Likewise, any number multiplied by -0- becomes the same—-0-—despite the infinite differences between them. And that, too, makes them equal despite the huge differences between them. Thus, while all the steps except for this were mathematically correct, a single wrong step in a range of steps leads us to such a drastically wrong, misleading, and unacceptable conclusion. Hence, not only the whole philosophy but also each of the logical links in the entire structure of a philosophy must be logically sound. And the more this is maintained, the closer the philosophy is elevated to the realm of science. That is to say, while in itself the philosophy cannot become science, a good and practical philosophy lends itself perfectly well to scientific inquiries.
© Copyrights 2012-13 Mark Abraham