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On the Path of Philosophership -- The Importance of Inclusion

Updated: Feb 20

A group of warriors

(This is part of a mini-series on Philosocom on becoming a philosopher. Here are the rest of the material:


I have recently encountered the echo of a familiar claim: a lament for the supposed decline of genius in our times. But is this a true reflection of reality, or perhaps a mirage birthed from our focus on the already-crowned heads, neglecting the seeds of brilliance waiting to sprout in the shadows of the world?

The very concept of "genius" carries with it a sense of exclusivity, an aura that isolates individuals in a pantheon of the exceptional. This framing, however, risks obscuring a fundamental truth: The potential for profound insight and transformative contributions resides within all of us, for our potential might exceed our own understanding. Why should we elevate one voice above another, granting the label of "genius" its power to amplify one perspective while silencing others? Should as many perspectives as possible be included? I allow guest writers for a reason. It matters not that I disagree with some of them. It matters that they deserve a place in my article empire a well.

The Symphony of Human Insight

To embrace the full tapestry of human potential, we must move beyond the limiting confines of labels and hierarchies. A wise person recognizes the inherent value in every individual, and as such, he or she won't be too quick to discard them, nor deem them irrelevant. For they know the limitations of their own, current understanding, and as such are too open-minded to not doubt it.

Each encounter, regardless of title or background, holds the possibility of enriching our understanding of the world, of offering a new lens through which to view reality. To close ourselves off to these diverse voices is to willingly handicap our own intellectual journey.

Think of it as a mosaic. Each unique perspective, each lived experience, adds a vital piece to the larger picture. The janitor with a keen eye for social dynamics, the senior lecturer with a thirst for existential questions – both offer invaluable insights, enriching the mosaic far beyond the confines of their respective labels. Would you discard a homeless person's insights just because they have no proper residence or formal education? By that logic you would discard Diogenes.

This is not to say that every voice deserves uncritical unexamined acceptance. Negaitve, it is imperative that we examine as much as possible, and attach ourselves to ideas, as little as possible, should we be wrong. Judgement skills and critical thinking are essential companions on our path to understanding. But true wisdom lies not in exclusion, but in the willingness to open our minds and hearts to the symphony of human voices, each with its own unique melody to contribute.

It is therefore the personal interest of each and every one of us to learn from the perspectives of any of those whom we meet and/or stand in our path. From the wise we can learn how we should be. From the dumb we can learn what not to be. Gathering as many insights, from a diverse array of sources, is what can help us think like masterminds.

So let us cast aside the narrow definitions of genius and embrace the collective brilliance that shines within each of us as a whole. Let our conversations be discussions, not arguements. Let such exchanges be colleborations that complete one another, and not competitions over the another. For in the tapestry of human understanding, every thread, no matter its source, holds the potential to generate finer and worthier viewpoints than otherwise.

Appreciating The Mosaic of Insight

The world of knowledge, in its purest form, should not be a golden arena for intellectual gladiators flexing their minds like biceps. It's a boundless landscape, where the value of contributions lies not in the stature, nor authority, of the contributor, but in the quality of the offering itself. This is the essence of my message, a call to transcend the pedestal of "genius" and embrace the mosaic of insight that lies within each of us.

I, for one, find my passion not in the applause of who and what I am, but in the potential of my work to illuminate and empower others, and help them believe in themselves and even save them from suicide. This is why I believe less-known philosophers deserve their place in the sunlight. Society may disregard them, but I refuse to do so. No. They are not unworthy, by the extention of their potential, they are worthy. To dismiss them to the shadows of history and the ceilings of anonymity is to risk silencing a symphony of potential wisdom.

The very term "giant of philosophy," (or "Great Fathers") when measured by mere popularity, sins in the fallacy of ad-populum. Even the most esteemed minds can be wrong for no one is safe from that inevitable possibility. True authority, if anything, lies in the rigorous evidence and logical reasoning that underpins an idea. Both of which are crucial components towards the truth.

Thus, every voice matters, as long as it doesn't deter the truth with ulterior motives. This is the essence of democracy, worthy of elevation: The belief that wisdom is not the exclusive domain of the privileged few, but a tapestry woven from the threads of diverse perspectives. Insights can bloom in the most unexpected corners, from the depths of academic halls to the soul of a homeless wanderer.

Never underestimate the worth of any insight given to you, for it can be most useful later. It can be useful even if it is faulty, should you learn why it's faulty, and teach yourself how to avoid the same defectiveness.

While academic expertise is valuable, blind reliance on it can lead us down a path of delusion. Question everything, explore department of knowledge you'd like, and apply what you've learned to other departments as well. This is called transferring knowledge. Embrace the symphony of voices that can enrich your understanding. A true philosopher, forever unsatisfied with the vast unknown, is a curious adventurer. Should he be happy with his current knowledge, he will deter of his or her own philosophership.

Beyond the Persona

It's tempting to fall into the trap of judging ideas based on their origin story. We filter through biographies, distinguish between personalities, and let our personal opinions about the thinker cloud our judgment of their work. This, however, is a sure way to miss out on a bountiful harvest of wisdom.

The truth is, the potential for insight resides not in the halo around a philosopher's head, but in the very substance of their ideas. What matters is not whether they were kind, cruel, or somewhere in between, but whether their words offer a seed that can grow within you, enhancing your understanding, and propelling you toward the truth. It is therefore the content that matters more than the author who penned it.

To dismiss a thinker purely because of their personality is to wear blinders. It's like refusing to taste a delicious fruit because you once collided with its tree, once, while you were walking. A true philosopher wouldn't let personal biases, like the tribal bias or the bias-by-affiliation, dictate their intellectual feast. They would delve into diverse perspectives, seeking nourishment wherever it may be found, regardless of the vessel that contains it.

No. The philosopher is necessarily a seeker of insight, but not necessarily a seeker of the vessels that offers them. Hence the difference between the "Kli" and the "Tochen", which makes them a deeper being.

Furthermore, a thoughtful examination of ideas can foster vibrant exchanges between readers. By engaging with diverse voices, even those belonging to individuals we might not personally admire, we create a fertile ground for critical thinking and the potential emergence of shared truths.

Let us cast aside the shackles of our preconceived notions, and be prepared to be wronged not with shame, but with pride. With the pride that now we have became wiser than before. Let us approach the banquet of philosophical thought with open minds and tolerating hearts, with as little exceptions as possible for that rule. For in the diverse buffet of ideas, regardless of their source, lies the true potential for intellectual growth, and the possibility of encountering a sliver of the truth we all seek.

Cooperations for that intention in mind, as said, is imperative. And for that we must settle away our differences in the name of lifelong learning from anything and anyone. Those who too in need to attach themselves to people and ideas on an emotional level, may struggle with this more, should they be heartbroken by the other. And yet again we witness the importance of content over the personhood that exchanges them with us. This, in turn, can depersonalize ourselves from our emotions... and perhaps, rightfully so.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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