These days, our philosophers are comedians, writers, religious leaders, professors, and teachers. People today don’t respect classical philosophers like they used to. I think it’s a shame, because there are a lot of admirable traits to The Philosopher.
I think, therefore I am.
Note: this is part of a larger series. Please read my introduction here if you would like some background. I am sympathetic to the philosopher…it’s an archetype that I identify with.
For many thousands of years, philosophers were respected across the globe as teachers, fonts of wisdom, and trusted advisors. Philosopher can be roughly translated from Ancient Greek as “lover of wisdom.” Until the 18th Century, Philosophy encompassed science, logic, political thought, aesthetics, moral philosophy, and metaphysics. Overtime, branches of knowledge split off into the sciences and humanities, and philosophy became just another branch of academia (and a highly esoteric one at that).
These days, our philosophers are comedians, writers, religious leaders, professors, and teachers. People today don’t respect classical philosophers like they used to. I have a BA in Philosophy; my degree and a $5 bill might get me a cup of coffee. I think it’s a shame, because there are a lot of admirable traits to The Philosopher. The Philosopher is someone who believes in evidence, logic, and rationality. A Philosopher will avoid a fight because it makes no sense to fight, and can see multiple sides of the same issue. What drives The Philosopher is a deep passion for knowledge and an infinite curiosity. Philosophers can be leaders, but they are just as often quiet academics or writers.
The Philosopher’s strength can also lead to blind spots. The Philosopher at his worst is coldly rational, has no empathy, and has difficulty forming social bonds. Philosophers are intelligent, but they can be argumentative and have difficulty relating to other people. After you’ve seen the truth of the Matrix, how do you relate to anybody else? In Nietzsche’s case, he didn’t. He just lost his mind. For those of us who feel an affiinity with The Philosopher, there is a danger in becoming withdrawn, arrogant, and emotionally-withdrawn. On the positive side, a lot of strength can be drawn from discipline, and a lot of confidence through knowledge.
Positive Attributes: thoughtful, charismatic, even-tempered, intellectual, logical, open-minded, persuasive, humorous, kind, focused.
Negative Attributes: coldly rational, argumentative, prone to depression, anxious, difficulty working in traditional office jobs, anti-social.
Famous Examples: Socrates, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Lao Tzu, Louis CK, K’Naan.
Energy: cold, calm, peaceful, focused.
Example Professions: religious leader, professor, security guard (a lot of time for thinking in that job, in my experience), physicist.
Animal: dolphin, owl (or at least the owl from Winnie the Pooh), pig.
—Photo Kheel Center/Flickr
For Further Reading Check out: