Heard two colleagues arguing over two “ism”s, each taking on a side trying to explain some phenomenon in life, exactly what phenomenon I forgot. What I did remembered is what they said about the two people that started those “ism”s — they called them philosophers with reverence.
To me, if someone calls himself a philosopher and makes a living out of it, then he is simply a lazy bum who is not diligent enough to maintain any real job, and thus resorting to BS professionally. I mean, who on earth doesn’t have his own thoughts about life? What kind of person would be so narcissistic as to dedicate his whole life trying to convince people about some ideas that whimsically occurred to him?
When I expressed my doubt to my colleagues, they patiently pointed out to me the difference between someone having some thoughts and someone who can be called a philosopher — the latter not only claim their thoughts, but more importantly, create a system of thoughts based on that and publish books on them.
But that is even worse than claiming random thoughts as they occur! To spend time formulating a thought system and making all the points defending it means one must unconditionally stand by such thoughts throughout their BS career. For coming up with contrary thoughts later would basically lead to self-destruction, defeating the thought system they meticulously built up before. Having different thoughts also downgrade the person from the aura-surrounded philosopher to a common person with random thoughts and nothing more.
As a result, the philosopher spend a lifetime trying to maintain a thought system, making every effort to refute contrary thoughts. But the world is all about diversity, life is about diversity, evolution occurs because of diversity. In reality, a person formulates different believes on a subject during the progress of life. The human mind is ever-changing, what one may feel this moment could easily become the opposite the next moment. How can anyone honestly stand by one belief throughout life? And if one cannot, then creating a thought system and writing books defending it becomes an insincere act that is merely done to keep a living. Why should anyone listen to thoughts that the originator couldn’t even strongly believe in?
Furthermore, a lot things in life have no definite answer. You can look at something from millions of angles, and each would make sense somehow. To understand and appreciate the different views of looking at things help us socialize, cope with difficulties, and improve as a person. To only believe in one thing and never the contrary is what religious people do — it may serve the simple minded to somehow find some comfort, however misguided, in life and death; but it definitely does not work from a realistic point of view. Only the narrow-minded would be self-illuded enough to shut out all contrary views.
One may then claim that each philosopher is simply trying to present one point of view to the readers, giving the latter choices to choose from. But do they think the readers are idiots incapable of formulating thoughts themselves? Each common person will naturally form the various views of things under different life circumstances. The gesture is nice, but no thanks.
So really, if anyone is fascinated by philosophy and wants to become a philosopher, I would say don’t insult yourself. If you live in ancient time where communication among people is limited, then writing a book to publish a thought may still be excused. But nowadays? Please spare the trees. It’s what blogs are for!