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On the Path to Philosophership: Solitude

Updated: Jun 19

(For more on this topic, I recommend reading the article about Solomon Maimon on this site).

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

Philosophers may be respected by their peers, but few are loved as much as non-philosophers. This is because, even though philosophy is a respected discipline, it can also be discouraging, sad, and make people question your mental state and/or your ego. This has been my own experience over the years.

As a result, the life of a philosopher can often be a solitary one, even if you are not naturally inclined to solitude. For example, there have been a few people in my life who have cut ties with me simply because of my honesty. And what is a philosopher without their honesty?

Most people prefer to hear what they want to hear, rather than what might make them uncomfortable. People dislike discomfort because it makes them cringe or feel embarrassed. However, the job of the philosopher is to speak the truth, no matter how cringey or unsettling it may be.

I have been told many times to shut up, and not always in a polite way. Even so, the request to be quiet is, nonetheless, a desire for one to shut up, no matter how one sugar-coats it.

Many people may respect your work, but from a distance. Once you are a philosopher, you must be prepared for the inevitability of upsetting people through honesty. It may make them angry, even furious, but your job as a philosopher is not to appeal to people, but to show them the "light." In a sense, a philosopher is very similar to a guru; the one who brings people from the comfort of darkness into the overwhelming light of the Sun.

Don't expect, however, for all those who receive your words, to respect you. In this day and age where it is easy to be triggered, people may call you "senile" or someone who talks "hogwash" about things they think otherwise about. You need to be prepared for the potential of people's choice to become your enemies.

What would have happened to Socrates if he had lived in pure hermitage from Athens? He might have died of old age, instead of being executed through poison, but he did make the sacrifice of his own potential peace, and thus made a name of himself as one of the most notable Western philosophers. People hated him, even to the point of putting him on trial, but such punishment would only be worthy for those who are ready to speak up, and those who don't do so, cannot be true philosophers, as only true philosophers speak their minds.

The problem with society is that it requires a certain degree of pretense in order to preserve its harmony. It requires people to show care where there is no caring in their hearts, to smile where there is no happiness, and to laugh where there is no humor.

The philosopher, in their determination to be honest, will only rarely, if ever, succumb to such rules that only serve to distance us from the truth. As a result, they will eventually be left alone, not because they are condescending barbarians, but because their words are too uncomfortable for some people to bear. They may still be respected, but mostly, if not only, from afar.

In conclusion, those who wish to become philosophers and are determined enough to do so for the rest of their lives must face the possibility of being even more alone than they already are. They should prepare to lose some love from the world in exchange for more respect, more followers, and fewer friends, less allies, and more enemies. That is what they get for speaking their minds and ruining all the "fun" at all the "parties." To put it simply, the philosopher, on many occasions, is a party-pooper.

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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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