If you do not love Knowledge, do not attempt to study philosophy,
As for the courses they offer in academic institutes, they are no more than a package of information about selected philosophers and thinkers of the past, in the view of the persons who designed those courses,
So we suggest that: for a person to be admitted to the degree of “bachelor of philosophy”, he or she has to have a love for knowledge, the love which will build up in him or her the impetus to study, not only the major schools of philosophy in the Western tradition but also:
The major schools of philosophy of all cultures, ancient and modern,
The religions of the world,
The major scientific disciplines,
The major theories of physics and cosmology, and the history thereof,
The major works of literature of the world,
Music of all cultures,
Arts and aesthetics of all cultures, ancient and new,
The major theories of psychology and sociology,
A brief history of the world,
Health science, ancient and modern,
Plus whatever other subject or subjects with which the candidate has a passion, ranging from sports to rocket science.
The study can be brief, as long as it acquaints the student with the subject, and brings its major references to his or her reach,
And if this means that the study can take up to ten years or twenty years for some, then be it,
And the graduates of such a course will deservedly be titled: philosophers,
And Prof Hawking can be assured then that philosophy is not irrelevant, but indeed the crowning of knowledge.
And how badly needed are such people in the world today,
At the time when philosophy has become a luxury, and pretentious wisdom and intelligence,
And a means for some to market outlandish ideas and slant observations,
Or to tell us that we should throw away our minds and replace them by theirs,
Or that they can reinvent the wheel, so instead of making it circular, they will make it to a model of their own, which happens to be circular,
Or to reinvent numbers, so instead of counting one, two, they count a, b, such as Bertrand Russell did,
Or to tell us that, if something can be pumped up as real in people’s minds, then it does become real,
And many more ideas and concepts which have crept into people’s minds, all of which must be debated, so the people can hear the arguments and the counter-arguments, so they can make their own choices,
Because what is happening in the world today: there are a number of concepts and ideologies: secular and religious, which are, shall we say popular, in the political circles, hence in the populace and the business world,
Concepts and ideologies which are regarded as, shall we say reasonable, by the measure of those who adopt them,
And hence used as a basis for major decisions and political stances in the world,
Decisions and political stances which affect the livelihoods of every living being on the planet, and indeed their survival.
And what about the ethics?
Those who call themselves ethicists today, all they can offer is some advice as to which course of action should one take in a particular situation,
Or how to prioritise the patients in an over-crowded emergency clinic,
Or whether you should push an elderly man on the railway to save a baby in a pram, or just let the baby die;
They do not understand that the answers to these issues, important as they are, are not the moments of human ethics, but only a projection thereof, in a specific place and time.
And philosophy is the guide of ethics, and an educator of morality,
Because, in the end, philosophy is self-knowledge.
Humanity cannot fulfil her humanity, and indeed survive, with corrupt morality,
And when we say corrupt morality we mean the morality which does not foster a spirit of cooperation and harmony and rationality, to help societies and individuals to live up to the humanity that they are meant to be,
And if, in the minds of some, those words that we have just used need definitions and references, we suggest that they do their homework and contemplations to try to come up with their own definitions for them,
Because, admittedly, we do not have them, and we will not try to,
Because, as soon as you have defined them, you have moulded them in a place and time, and they do not belong in a place and time.
This has been the human mind’s dilemma and since a long time:
That is to be able to see the truth of things above their physical existence;
Religions have had a go; philosophers have had a go;
And this is not an easy pursuit, not for everyone to attempt it, and most people need guidance in all matters of their lives,
But across the ages, there has been a power which is inclined to take the easy way out of this: of dire consequences:
Driven by fear, insecurity: born in “darkness”: that is lack of vision,
Hence our frequent use of this word,
Not in an attempt to label people as radiant or dark, or good and evil,
But indeed to show them that these are two different modes of mind in physical existence.
At various times of human existence on this earth, the two peoples were separated, and remixed many times, at their own desire,
The parting of the sea, alluded to in the Book, which happened in the days of Prophet Joseph, was a separation of the two worlds, and was first noticed by Parmenides.
Although this cannot be proven by empirical methods or even philosophical ones, those who are advanced in self-knowledge and have approached the door steps of the philosophy can see it in their own vision.
The separation of the two worlds or their mixing on the earth does not occur at the discretion of a god, or as a punishment or a reward, although it can be seen as such,
But it occurs by The Law, when the planet is in certain positions relative to other astral entities; and when people’s immune systems have been weakened by their unhealthy practices: they fall down;
Human sciences and self-awareness still have a long, long way to go, and if things we have said make no sense to you or are unprovable by intellectual reasoning, take not that as a reason to drop it all,
But keep an open mind to it; you have had an open mind to many concepts and views that never had a definite proof, and you accepted them nevertheless,
But you surely can walk the walks of the mind through which we have walked you, and if you follow the walks of your mind: your mind has everything that you want: it is the cosmos in its entirety, and before it was begun: and by the implicit admission, albeit the vocal denial, of the empiricists who preach that you are the product of an evolutionary process.
The Messages, in the past, offered to humanity a moral code, in very simple words, which look simplistic and naïve at first look,
The Ghita, for example, says that the doors of hell are: lust, greed and anger,
And our choice of a quote from the Ghita is only because the Ghita is oldest record of a message that is still being recognised today after thousands of years by a great section of the population of the earth,
And because so have taught all the Books which followed, although in different wording and allusions, in different times and cultures,
But those who go by the definitions which have been set in a place and time, have created major differences between the religions:
They fell in the traps of conditional good and evil, based on definitional morality;
You see them committing the very sins they see other groups commit, while completely unaware, guided by their definitions, and not by the spirit of their moral code;
It would fill up books of text to list the sins and errors of the religions of the world, sins and errors which are being perpetrated under the cover of their interpretations of their Book and the laws derived therefrom,
So we shall not attempt that, although we did mention a few at various points,
But to put it briefly: the doors of hell have indeed been wide open: lust, greed, anger, by all the religions and the political and business systems of the world, under different customs, traditions and legislation.
It is not only because, by physical laws, these doors lead to suffering and destruction of all,
But more importantly, because they distance humanity from her Truth: and suffering and destruction of human civilisation are only the physical aspects of her distance
: that is hell in the Books.
And this is the teaching that the messages across the ages have been trying to convey, and this message is only a reminder and a warning.
This is the job of philosophy, and philosophy is guidance to the people and their rulers,
Philosophy is also guidance to science and the direction that it should take,
Philosophy is self-knowledge, and science is about physical phenomena.
Science cannot dictate to humanity a moral code, and those who believe they will one day crack the code of the operating system of the human brain and be able to manipulate it, have gone with their arrogance and self-conceit to an extreme to which no human civilisation has gone before,
Their chemical knowledge of the human DNA is already proving a premature eureka, and a scratch on the surface of a huge thing, and they will soon be shocked by the different directions that the DNA can devolve or evolve to, unpredictably in their understanding.
And let us not forget, that science today has its first applications in developing military technology: the technology of destruction and forced submission,
And the products of consumption: the instrument of economic development: the instrument of division and forced submission.
And let us not forget, that the first atomic bomb was developed at the persuasion of the man who is seen by many as the most intelligent ever to walk this earth: Albert Einstein himself, who wrote a letter to the then American president, warning that the Germans may be on their way of developing one, hence the Americans should too.
So shall we say, and without prejudice, that the intelligence which dictates that you should have a more lethal weapon than the one of your enemy’s, and falls short of a rational examination of the need for weapons and the consequences of possessing and using them: falls in the realm of the intelligence of the monkey: a biological machine devoid of human values;
So, no sooner were the bombs made and used, than tens of thousands of them, all around the world were made, and a race to total annihilation of life on earth is still under way,
So one cannot but question the intelligence that was unable to foresee that, and ensure that it should not happen in a future time.
And let us not forget, that it is greed that has the power to boost the economies of the world, or to crash them: dooming the world to be a desert not cultivatable, and large and small manufacturing plants and manmade edifices not usable: by its deity of money and the financial institutes which serve it, which have the power to dictate the fate of everything, under different ideologies, secular and heavenly, and the traditions and laws derived from them.
And let us not forget that mankind’s sexuality is the strongest driver, amongst other drivers of human passions, by the admission of Freud and those who followed his path,
The passions which drive the people to seek continuance in physicality, and therefore to interact and have social, business and family ties with one another;
Man’s sexuality which is being manipulated and taken off its natural purpose of expression of love and the resultant procreation, and being turned into a vehicle for commercial advertising, and an object of business for the medical profession and its surrounding, for the purpose of quick profit;
Man’s sexuality which, across the ages, has been used by religious institutes to enforce their laws and promote their ideologies,
And the world has thus turned into a litter bin, and an incubator for the conception and consumption of crime, of man and animal.
So, bearing all this in mind, can one still see that philosophy is now irrelevant?
Mankind’s fate is determined by mankind’s morality, and you are made of your beliefs and convictions, and your beliefs and convictions dictate and shape your experience of the world and your actions therein,
The proof is in your own mind,
Waste no time gathering statistical data and surveillance video to determine which molecules of oxygen or nitrogen hit the wall which collapsed in a storm,
The wall collapsed because it was shoddy to withstand the storm, and the molecules of oxygen and nitrogen of the air were none but a minute thing in a huge thing which makes up climate and storm systems,
Those individual molecules of the air are innocent in the grand picture.
But politicians and business authorities today do run surveys and do track things by their gadgets of technology, attempting to identify the factors which contribute to the failure or success of their systems, all their systems;
And naturally, they come up with no conclusive evidence to anything, except what they want to believe and have the power and the resources to drum up,
Hence many are still not convinced that greed is behind the financial crisis of the world, and if anything, laws and regulations should be loosened, they say, to allow a natural process to complete its course, and will continue to argue that greed is every human being’s capitalist right, for which they will fight to the end;
And many are still not convinced that the arms race which threatens the planet is not the way to promote peace and foster cooperation between the nations of the world;
And many are still not convinced that aggression cannot be countered by aggression;
And many are still not convinced the free sexual behaviour of people, whether by mundane or religious laws, has ruined family values, and brought up a generation of people which has been driven to extremes: of drug use, violence, and even suicide… as a runaway from a hopeless or bitter actuality, or in search of some illusive happiness;
And many are still not convinced that the race to economic success has not made people happier, and the success of governments cannot be measured by the dollars and the cents alone, and it is not by bread alone that man lives;
To mention a few of humanity’s ailments today, across the board, in poor and wealthy nations, religious or secular.
But those who were supposed to guide and offer alternatives and warn of the consequences of spiralling down the spiral of materialism and consumerism and the politics of war and military superiority: namely the religious institutes and leaders: have been totally unaware of these issues, partly or wholly,
Because in their interpretations of their Book and in their laws these issues do not feature,
And even if they did, they would bypass them, and the rhetoric in their places of rituals is quite divorced from their direct or indirect involvement in the ills of the world, or indeed their contribution to it,
Or because, to some of them, the status quo of the world is their god’s blessing to humanity: the wars, so they can sacrifice human life to appease their god; the wealth on the back of which poverty thrives; the sex and the swelling population and the consequent pollution of a planet, whose urbane parts are infested with rats, gangs, superbugs and mental and physical illnesses, and whose natural habitats and wild life are alarmingly diminishing…
In such a predicament ethicists and philosophers can play a significant role,
But those too have not been up to the job, and public opinion seems to be their guide,
Public opinion which is quickly manipulated by the media and commercial advertising, the politicians and their lobbyists and consultants, corporations and their dollar influence on everything and everyone…
Moreover, they themselves are part of this system which is fuelled by greed, lust and anger,
With a difference, they say, that it has to be done “ethically”, that is according to the rules they set in place and time,
Rules which are no more than patches of tissue paper stuck by saliva on a dam to stop it from bursting.
And amidst this quagmire, many are still pretending that everything is just fine, and that this is just a phase of human development, the like of which there were many before,
And that soon, technology or the political and economic equations of the world will be rebalanced, and everything will be back on track,
Those are the ones who hide their heads in the sand, and would like to pretend that the scale of things in the last century and the current (twenty-first) are in the habitual scale of things,
And to them, morality is a question of affordability, not a question of reality,
But they are going to be disappointed, because the scale of thing have reached, or just about to, their limits.
Humanity cannot progress materially if she has not progressed ethically,
Technology and money are a double-edged sword, they can either assist a quick recovery, or they can speed up self-destruction;
As for religious rituals, those have been being practised for thousands of years and have not helped one bit; if anything, they have led people to dwell on irrationality, and hence impeded the progress of the peoples which practice them.
Humanity’s progress depends solely on the ethic of humanity that is founded on the rational humanity and the faculty of compassion,
And not on the effectiveness of technology, and neither on the status of the stock markets across the globe, and neither on the rituals and religious customs and traditions,
But only on the ethic of humanity: that is self-knowledge: the purpose of human life.