4 Tests Philosophers Should Take
Updated: May 21
These are the four tests I have to offer for anyone interested in becoming a philosopher, and their examples. 2023 note: This article was written in a very abstract manner, less literal.
The Test of Independence
Philosophers are naturally independent in their thinking. They submit to no authority but that which they find the most logical. To be a philosopher is to disagree even when the rest agree and even oppose you. How much are you willing to abandon the Heaven of Conformity in the search of the Mountain of Logic?
Here is an example:
You are living in an underground dome with your community, none of which has ever seen the light of the sun beyond the isolation of the underground habitat. Your community claims that venturing out of the Dome of Safety is a waste of effort and time, because there is only emptiness out there. If you are to complete the Test of Independence, then you are to seek the truth even at the cost of your reputation and respect from those who know you, in the name of clarification and discovery.
2. The Test of Seclusion
Philosophers are not only independent-thinking individuals, but also people that go in their own ways, most of the time, by themselves. Philosophers are explorers of logic in distant lands, sometimes within the comfort of their own hermitage. To pass the test of seclusion, you are to know and to endure the Realm of Seclusion.
You are to overcome even your own desires for company in the name of intellectuality and your actualization as a philosopher.
Here is an example:
You are on a two-way path on a Saturday night. On the one hand, you wish to contemplate about whatever may interest you, and on the other hand, your friends are tempting you to be in their company, as a regular hangout on the weekends. To pass the Test of Seclusion, you are to overcome the temptation for company, in the name of the Love of Wisdom.
3. The Test of Endurance: No one is completely safe from angst, for the evidence of life is the evidence of pain. Philosophers are no exception, even if they try to minimize their pain in living. At times, philosophers suffer even more than the average individual, for their insights may bring great misery upon them. To be a philosopher is to prepare yourself for the possibility that you may be tormented when an insight is revealed by your contemplations.
You have to endure the pain of the insight like a sick person endures the disgusting taste of a medical pill; endure it until it becomes acknowledged and accepted by you, and thus the increase of mental strength will follow.
Example: If you realize, after logical thinking, that there is no afterlife because there is no soul, then it might be of great pain to you, because you may realize how temporary your and everyone's life is. No one knows what truly lies after death, but if there is no evidence to the existence of souls, then it is likely that there is nothing after death, but the end of life itself. Think of how horrible that might be for some.
4. The Test of Power: There is a very thin line between a philosopher and a cult leader. To be a philosopher is to engage in intellectual activity that may or may not attract other people to listen to what you have to say; to be a cult leader is to use this attraction for the sake of eliminating the freedom of these interested people, by making them your minions. A philosopher seeks clarification; a cult leader uses their own clarification as darkening the vision of others, and thus taking away their independence to attain the illusion of power.
If you are to pass the Test of Power, you are to resist the temptation of manipulation when you meet people who are interested in your philosophical thinking. You are to bring them from the darkness to the light of reason, and not the opposite.
The darkness of blind faith is the enemy of philosophy, not its ally. You are not to give orders to others, but be their guide, and the choice of following you or disagreeing with your reason is theirs and theirs only. When philosophy is used as a source of socio-political power, it begins to lose its purity as a tool of clarification, and instead it becomes a cult. If it gains popularity, it becomes a religion. Know the thin line between the two, and attempt to stay on the side of light, until you give up the desire to control others, and thus the Test of Power shall be passed successfully.