Facets Of Philosophy
“Life,” says a fine Greek adage, “ is the gift of nature; but beautiful living is the gift of wisdom.”
To begin with, I would depict on the beauty of philosophy which used to be the supreme and dominant knowledge in the Greek era. The upheavals resulting from the grandiosity of philosophy led towards more critical knowledge and rational analysis. Socrates, the centre of a circle of friends and disciples in Athens, had a method of inquiry (the Socratic Method) based on discourse with those around him; his careful questioning was designed to reveal the truth and expose erroneous notions. He was known chiefly through his disciple Plato, who recorded Socrates’ dialogues and teachings in, for example, the Symposium and the Phaedo. Charged with introducing strange gods and corrupting the young, he was sentenced to death and condemned to take hemlock, which he did, spurning offers to help him escape into exile. The oracle at Delphi, with unusual good sense, had pronounced him the wisest of the Greeks. “I know one thing; that I know nothing,“ said Socrates.
Philosophy (from Greek: philosophia, literally: ‘love of wisdom’) is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy begins when one learns to doubt particularly one’s cherished beliefs, dogmas and axioms. The demise of Socrates destructed the light of knowledge prevailing in Greece.
Plato, a disciple of Socrates and the mentor of Aristotle, founded an academy in Athens. His system of thought had a profound influence on Christian theology and Western philosophy. Plato’s political theories appear in the Republic, in which he explored the nature and structure of a just society. Republic undermines problems reeking with modernity and contemporary savor; communism and socialism, feminism and eugenics, Nietzchean problems of morality and aristocracy, Rousseauian problems of return to nature and libertarian education. “Plato is Philosophy, and philosophy Plato,” says Emerson, and awards to the Republic the words of Omar about the Quran: “Burn the libraries, for their value is in this book.” Plato proposed a political system based on the division of population into three classes, determined by education rather than birth or wealth, rulers, police, armed forces and civilians. Plato was of the view that the right person should be suited for the right job. “Ruin comes when the trader, whose heart is lifted up by wealth, becomes ruler,” or when a general uses his army to establish a military dictatorship. He opined that statesmanship was a science and an art and one must have lived for it and have been long prepared. Only a philosopher-king is fit to guide a nation. “Until philosophers are kings, or the kings are philosophers having power of wisdom and leadership, cities will never cease from ill, nor the human race.” This is the keystone of the arch of Plato’s thought.
Aristotle, Greek philosopher and scientist, a pupil of Plato and tutor to Alexander the Great, was the one who founded a school and library (the Lyceum) outside Athens. Plato spoke of Aristotle’s home as “the house of the readers”. “Socrates,” says Renan, “gave philosophy to mankind, and Aristotle gave it to science.” There was philosophy before Socrates and science before Aristotle but all was built upon the foundation they laid. Before Aristotle, science was still an embryo; with him it was born.
“Through strife,” says Heraclitus, “all things arise and pass away… War is the father and king of all; some he has made gods, some men; some slaves and some free.” Where there is no strife there is decay. “Everything,” said Leucippus, “is driven by necessity.”
To produce work, one must have knowledge. “Nature cannot be commanded except by being obeyed,” says Francis Bacon, a known English statesman and philosopher. Philosophy has been barren for long because it needs a new method to make it fertile. Bacon quotes Virgil’s great lines,”Happy the man who has learned the causes of things, and has put under his feet all fears.” It is perhaps the best fruit of philosophy. Bacon concluded, “By pains men come to greater pains, and by indignities men come to dignities.”
The multitudinous means of philosophy and knowledge made the nations wax. Ideologies when chiseled make the states groom. But the demise of philosophy in a society like ours will remain a continuos endangerment to our existence. Requisite knowledge of philosophy should be made compulsory in the educational system, especially in law and sciences. Philosophy is the keystone of all knowledge. From institutional flaws to legislative lacunas, mar in administrative functions to quasi-judicial imperfection, homely rule of law to uncomely justice, all are the result of philosophical mar.
In my humble opinion, we should catalyze plenary wisdom and rational objectivism. Ensuring the right to education as mentioned in Article 25A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and assuring the means to libraries ought to be significant. Creating libraries and homes for readers as Aristotle did, is a step towards achieving the finest literacy. Instilling a passionate commitment in the learned and intellectuals for deducing rationality and wisdom will be a commendable job. The philosophy for the paradigm of democratic values and laws is ineffective and we need the effacement of it for the welfare of our state and its individuals.
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