I often have heard that it’s wise to choose goals to reach for in the future – usually something on the order of a 1-year goal and a 10-year goal (with some minor variation on the time scales) to organize my plans into near-future goals and far-future goals. I have recently realized that I have been a bit foolish about how I do this. I would choose what are essentially career-type goals: attain mastery of orchestra writing, hike in the Rocky Mountains for two weeks, find a great wife and start a family, and other things like this. While this kind of thinking can be useful, it can ignore a basic fact of human psychology, that we are really short-term reward creatures. These goals really should be thought of as short-term rewards that I want to be receiving in 1 year or 10 years, an that boils down to not career goals, but what do I want a typical day to be like? Would it be similar to my typical days right now, or different? How?
I don’t really know. It seems important.
Ever since ancient times, philosophy has been known as a noble and important profession. The best of philosophy led to the scientific method, which (among other things) is slowly but surely lifting the human race out of both the poverty of property and the poverty of knowledge in modern times.
Philosophy is traditionally known as the search for Truth – with a capital ‘T’: the most basic and essential elements that give meaning to our existence. But philosophy is something in which everyone could have some amount of competency, and I believe that just about everyone does to some degree. But this ‘philosophy of everyone’ is not quite the same philosophy that leads to Truth, but rather to true things – with two lowercase ‘t’s. True things like how to evaluate arguments or references, and how to recognize intrinsically true concepts such as “red is a color.”
It is my sincere belief that this search for true things is vital to making the world a better place to live in during modern times. To this end, more skill at finding and recognizing true things is better than less. Thus, our professional philosophers also have another duty which is just as important (if not more) than finding Truth: teaching others how to better find and recognize true things. Any professional philosopher who does not see this is (in my opinion) unprofessional. This is especially important in our information age, where it is more vital by the day to be able to sift through the internet and other vast sources of knowledge to find the true things and to recognize and discard the untrue things.
Simply put, philosophy is one of the most important tools of the 21st century, and needs to be recognized as such. While it sounds like a great idea if everyone were to become professional philosophers, this is in reality an unrealistic goal. I am amongst the vast majority of humanity who are not. However, it becomes an essential aspect of a well-rounded, mature adult to be constantly trying to improve one’s philosophical skills. The more people who become closer to being professional philosophers, and the more philosophically skilled is the general population of Earth, the better off we all are.