Philosophy is the ongoing effort to peel back the layers of this life and discover the deepest truths of our unexpected and wondrous world. When done right, it’s inquiry and deliberation at their best. It's also the one use of reason that's well aware of reason's contours and limits. It’s meant to be much more than an entertainment for some, and an irritant for others. It’s a guide for making and walking our proper paths in life. It's a liberator and a muse, freeing us and calling us forth to a creative art of life.
Philosophy destroys the false and elicits the true. It unmasks the mundane to show us the beautiful. It seeks the good and hints at what might be the unity, the one, beneath all else. It has no masters, only students. Its heroes are simply those who toil hardest, show us the most, spark us well, and help us along our own way. It’s about the highest and the deepest, the biggest and the smallest, all at once, and even as it examines what that 'once' might be.
Philosophy can enrich us immensely, but it pays no bills. Has anyone ever been paid just to think? We who do it full time are paid to speak, and write, and teach. But the thinking itself is its own reward. Done well, philosophy is something that can’t possibly disappoint. Done badly, it’s a danger and a calamity. But it also explains to us why it has these opposite potentials. It urges all of us to let it enhance our lives. But it advises us as well to tread carefully as we heed its invitation.