Sunday, September 27, 2015

How to Understand Philosophical Ideas

The following are the procedures to attain philosophical ideology.

Think Radically...

      1.      First read and take notes. But read very, very slowly. Philosophy cannot be read quickly.

      2.      Then re-read until the paragraph is understood. Do this and try doing this before going on to the next paragraph otherwise further paragraphs may not be understood.

      3.      Compare ideas understood  with what is given in personal experience. How similar? How different?

      4.      Relate with other readings, with other experiences.

      5.      Review and change technique if not working. How can the process be done differently?

Sample 1
Insight: “ Love is a way of being”
What does this line mean?
 I used to think that I already understood what it meant. But Looking back , my original understanding was mainly theoretical. I knew the meaning of love based on what I have read such as “love is an active concern for the life or welfare of the other” as Erich Fromn describes it; or that “ love is the communion with the other” as Gabriel Marcel says; or that love is selfless giving as oftentimes said.  The existential philosophers say that  by loving one rises to the level of the human. By means of this readings my understanding of the experience became broader, less limited and less superficial….. 
But how did I arrive at the idea that love is a way of being? Definitely the readings helped. The readings constituted the theoretical background for a deeper understanding of the experience. And I have read not only one but several descriptions and interpretations of love. I can say that one of the first steps to my understanding of this experience were the readings. The readings, however, did not occur systematically. Some were done deliberately, because the subject had to be studied; others were done as the opportunity arose and  because the topic was interesting. The readings coupled with the writing down of important points, that is outlining what was read so that highlights could  be reviewed and attention could be focused on them have contributed much to the understanding of the experience.

But a remarkable way, which helped me to understand this experience more profoundly, was intuition,. One day, I was not deliberately engaged in reflection but merely letting  my thoughts wander from one idea  to another when suddenly hit me that love is really a way of being, that is a way of touching reality and becoming real. And so by way of personal experience I know that it is possible to grasp more fully the reality of an experience without deliberate rational deduction.


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