Did philosophy ruin my life?

Some of the answers here claim that, if philosophy caused you suffering, than you must have read it wrong, or you didn't understand it. I would argue quite the opposite: suffering has been in fact pointed out by many philosophers, such as Nietzsche and Heidegger, as an indicator of having actually understood what is being said by them (Heidegger talks about "anguish as a way towards authenticity").

Some of the authors you listed are particularly strong in their message.

Nietzsche and Foucault will argue, in different ways, how the criteria that we absolutely need for life is necessarily arbitrary, and how our notions of morality, justice, truth, language, politics, meaning and fulfillment are inevitably filled with fallacies and illusions.

Sartre will give you the burden of freedom: you are entirely responsible for your own life: "man is the future of man". And he will rob you of something most humans deploy as a major source of coping with existence: bad-faith: the denial of your freedom to change your circumstances, in order to avoid the trouble and pain of actually changing them, and taking responsibility for the results.

I completely, 100% understand you.

Philosophy makes you aware of just how much of a joke existence is. Kierkegaard wrote "When I grew up, I opened my eyes and saw the real world, and I began to laugh, and I haven't stopped since". He is precisely laughing at the absurdity of our actions and values. Yes, in the modern world, one could argue that most of the things upon which our society is based is futile and meaningless.

As Thoreau noticed, in our world, silent suffering is the norm, philosophy has taken away the silence for you, but the same philosophical thinking might allow you to cope with the uncovered suffering.

Karl Marx wrote that "irreligious criticism is the criticism of the vale of tears of which religion is the halo". In the same way, the criticism philosophy makes of the modern way of life, with all its elements, is actually an attack on the condition that this elements hide, and help perpetuate.

The analogy with Plato's allegory of the cave is very precise. After being set free from seeing mere projections of the world, we may take a while and suffer a little while adjusting to seeing sunlight for the first time in the real world. Also, leaving the safety of the cave might be frightening, but once you do get you may realize you have achieved a greater state of authenticity,

It is only normal to feel such cynicism, philosophy will give you a perspective of things where everything is extremely relative, and with no ultimate logical foundations. How could one not be cynic about a world that is so transparently filled with lies?

Philosophy has not ruined your life, it has freed you from a world that is below the privilege of having a human brain. Philosophy has allowed you to start the way of going beyond the mere projections of the world, in this way, anguish is the cost for authenticity. The philosophical endeavor is based on the premise established by one of its founders (Socrates), that "the unexamined life is not worth living".

Philosophy will teach you about the value of the ordinary. Playing videogames and collecting simple things are not a part of the "world that is below the privilege of having a human brain", they are elements that all humans require to live, we are ritualistic beings, and should learn to see the beauty in our triviality, it is part of what makes us interesting.

Philosophy doesn't completely eliminate religion, it teaches you why we needed it in the first place, and how to cultivate the good aspects it carried. The same goes for all the other things on which our perspective is heavily affected by philosophy.

It will give you access to a higher form of experiencing music, art, the ritualistic aspects of religion, travel, relationships, and certainly, videogames and collecting. In order for that to happen, you must not give up on leaving the cave.

Keep reading, discuss your thoughts with other people, try eastern philosophy, go further back in time, write down meaningful insights. Just don't go back inside"

(Written in Jan/2017)


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