A number of Praxis participants are currently completing our Philosophy module and blogging everyday about the content. Today’s post is republished from Praxis participant Ryan Ferguson’s personal blog on his 2nd day going through philosophy module.
You can’t ignore the big questions in life. You can only run from them.
But eventually they will find you.
The meaning of life will find you when you wake up in the middle of the night.
“What happens when you die?” will find you when you hear about a friend diagnosed with cancer.
“What is good and what is evil?” will find you when a former reality star turned would-be dictator becomes a leading candidate in an election.
Big questions are around you every day, waiting for you to answer them.
When you go to work in the morning, or are nice to your server at a restaurant, you are communicating your answers. You are communicating a philosophy. The important question to consider is if it is YOUR philosophy.
If you don’t take the time to think about the big questions for yourself, you will simply be living with other people’s answers.
If you don’t think about the purpose of life, you will be running around living a life that doesn’t truly belong to you. Your actions will be dictated by assumptions that you haven’t taken the time to think through. You will be the guy running around following all the steps on a path leading in some direction that you may not actually want to go.
You can go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, start a family, get promotions, and so on. Until some point in time when those big questions come back around and smack you right in the face.
And you think to yourself, “Why did I do all that?”
Why did I work for 25 years as an accountant, when I really wanted to start my own business?
Why did I buy that house and get married when I was 24 and I really wanted to go out and explore the world?
You’ll realise that you were living your life based on assumptions that you didn’t believe. You were acting on someone else’s answers. Following tradition, and not living a life that was in line with what you truly believe.
I spent the first 22 years of my life running away from the big questions. Living with other people’s answers. Avoiding the big questions by watching sports, or playing video games.
Escaping instead of contemplating.
A lot of things have changed for me since then. And they started changing when I started to consider big questions. What makes me feel happy? What is the point of doing things I don’t like doing? What actions do I believe are right and wrong?
I didn’t figure out the answers. But I started changing my direction. I started to live a life where my actions flowed from my principles and I started to notice when I was avoiding thinking about those big questions.
As I dig into learning more about philosophy, I hope to improve my ability to think through big questions. To challenge deep-rooted assumptions that I did not consciously make. To become more integral as a thinker, and as a person.