Monday, April 25, 2011

A Philosophy of Life

When I was diagnosed I did start wondering what this life was all about. I have gone through a (hard) personal journey of what it means to live a life of meaning and what happens when you die. I have the slogan "decide to live" and I feel that is something that has to be done every day- as we know some days are harder than others.

Part of what I want to submit in my philosophy thesis is questioning philosophy statements of people, businesses and states. Here is an excerpt that I hope will inspire you to think of your own life philosophy and make it one of meaning!

The word “Philosophy” is derived from Greek, where the word “phil” means “love” and “sophy” means “wisdom” For many scholars, this word has been interpreted into the love of wisdom. I would like to suggest that the two words retain their original essence but become fused. The would “philosophy” would be love = wisdom. Where love and wisdom have the same value and therefore love is to wisdom what wisdom is to love. Philosophy would be the sum of the parts. These two words (love and wisdom) will ultimately be the pillars by which we create philosophical statements and meaning in our lives (through activities and experiences).

Many people have a so-called philosophy of their life or business or even state. South African’s government philosophy is “Ubuntu” which in translation is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others' and can also mean 'I am what I am because of who we all are'

So, in assessing South Africa’s government philosophy, we could perhaps assume that the “love” portion of our country’s philosophy would refer to “humanity to others” but the wisdom bit seems to be pretty thin. My criticism of the word “Ubuntu”, that South Africa holds as their philosophy, is that there is no definition of what wisdom will be followed, what type of love will be encouraged or a definition of the values / ethics of the country. The statement is very short and can lead to much mis-interpretation. For instance, what do we share? Shacks, fancy cars, corruption?

What is “who we all are”? We have 11 official languages, multiple religions, multiple races, foreigners and a great divide between very rich and very poor. So what is it that “we all are”? Other than actually physically living on the land, there is no defined common thread or set of values in our country. How is it humanly possible to understand and live a philosophy that, in essence, has no value to the people? It actually makes it sound like South Africa has a slogan rather than a philosophy. We could have well learnt it from “Nike” ... “Just do it”! Perhaps that would have been a more appropriate philosophy in our country!

“There will be no end to the troubles of the state or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, until philosophers become kings of this world, or until those who are now kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers.” Plato

So perhaps in the coming elections we should look past the slogans and try see if there is any "meat" in the proposed promises of our politicians. Should we not rather find someone who has the essence of a government of meaning (love and wisdom) and not just one who has a lot of nice words to say.  Perhaps we should insist that they give us their philosophy of how they will run a country on our behalf. Ultimately we are the ones to choose who it is that is going to represent our lives, values and meaning in South Africa. Do you think any of the people that are running for elections have had a "life of meaning"? Ones who cares for our vision, our values and our mission for the good of the people in the land.  For me only Mandela stands out and that is pretty scary in light of our future prospects.

What are your thoughts...

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