In every era, some people have been successful in deeply satisfying ways, and others have found any significant form of life achievement more elusive. Some people have been happy, and many others have lacked this basic attainment. Some have experienced inner peace. Many have not. There have been those who have felt a deep current of fulfillment in their work. Some have had an overarching sense of meaning in their lives.
I believe that Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle saw these differences and wondered what might be responsible for them. And then they realized that communities and societies might reflect these gaps as well. They wanted to know what might put us on the better side of each of these distinctions. And so they analyzed human belief, behavior, and the full inner side of our being in the world. And they left us their thoughts, for our productive use, and to spark our own.
In my experience, philosophy, the "love of wisdom," is just the ongoing adventure of our best efforts to understand these and many other facets of the human experience, as well as the deeper contours of the world we're all in.
As Aristotle saw, politics is ideally all about how best to live well together. Ethics is about how to live our best individual lives, as well as to make the best of that communal existence we inevitably share. Both these enterprises are about how to draw on and channel our highest resources for the greater good of each, and the deep flourishing of all.
Lao Tsu saw the need. So did Confucius. And many other wise people around the world and throughout history have felt philosophy to be among the most important activities available to us in this life. Our society, and much of our world in our own time, seems to think and feel very differently. And I believe this is tragically wrong, as can be seen every day when a lack of wisdom is played out all around us at every level.
Some problems may be far beyond our solving. This one isn't. So I urge you to join me in pointing out to those who may have forgotten this fact that philosophy, at its best, is crucially important in our time, as it has been throughout history. How we think determines how we live. And how well we do either is related to the other.