My Philosophy

I quote here some guidelines that I follow in my life as my philosophy. These are the codes I live by. They might not always be true. It was definitely not true in the past. But for now, this is the philosophy of my life. These are more like guidelines, but I’ll call them philosophy.

But what is philosophy? To me, philosophy is moral and ethical guidelines that we should live by. We can live our lives in whichever way we want. But that isn’t proper. Why isn’t it proper? Because sometimes the way we live might affect others in some known or unknown ways. Our freedom to live must not infringe upon others’ and so should theirs’. This is why it is important for people to live by a certain set of principles called philosophy. Each and everyone should have a philosophy of their own. Because each and everyone have some underlying grounds for reasoning for whatever opinions they have on critical issues.

First and foremost, my main philosophy is borrowed from Ayn Rand. I do not agree with every part of her philosophy. But I do agree with her when she says that our ultimate moral purpose is to live for our own happiness. I agree completely with her in this regard. I certainly do live for my own happiness, up till now. Whatever activity I undertake, I do so because I want to do it very much and because by doing it I will be happy and satisfied. But this means that I can do anything as long as it gives me happiness. For instance, I’m feeling jealous of someone. Now, if I will feel happy and satisfied when I have done some harm to him/her, this too will abide by my philosophy. But no. I should add something else to her philosophy before I practice it in my life.

Ayn Rand says here, “If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.” That is why she says to pursue one’s “rational self-interest”. Hurting others intentionally is something that is not rational. Therefore, everything I undertake will be for a certain selfish reason of my own that is justified. Everything and anything we do in life definitely has a selfish reason behind it. No one does anything without an ulterior motive. That is very impossible. There cannot be a human being so perfect like that. And if there is someone like that, the person must definitely be brain-washed.

Another important guideline in my life is justice. Life should be balanced. No one should give a lot more than they are supposed to give and become a “sacrificial animal”, as in the words of Ayn Rand, and no one should take up a lot more than what they actually deserve. If I am expected to help some poor people in the village, I would rather help them get some jobs than give them alms. I would rather give some loan to my close relative when in need than just give some money and never expect it back. Life is a trade. You lose something to get something. It’s such a basic philosophy and applies to almost everyone.

Next, never depend on anyone. I have learned this the hard way. But you might say, like John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself…” But that is how life should be, according to me. Don’t mistake me. I am not saying that you should not have friends or companions. Of course I have friends. I value friendship a lot. But this is totally different. When you want to accomplish a task, rely only on yourself. Not on others, even if they are your parents, friends or relatives. Don’t involve others into your problems when they might have nothing to do about it. This brings me to another subset of a guideline here. That is to think for yourself. Whatever decisions that I have to make pertaining to my life, I should do it for myself. Because I know myself best. Sometimes we rely too much on others without noticing it ourselves. But we will notice it when we hesitate to take a decision on our own.

Always be critical. This is more of a guideline than a philosophy. I believe that one should not trust and accept anything in life just like that. You have to scrutinise it, analyse it and criticise it. This attitude is very good and has helped me to think for myself. Another thing is, I don’t advocate blind faith and gullibility

I always have choices in my life. No matter what the outcome of the free will vs determinism debate is, I believe that one always has choices in one’s life. We must only master the skill to choose wisely. That skill, in my opinion, is to employ our reasoning abilities. Our reasoning ability depends on our prior knowledge, our experiences and what we already know. But sometimes, this knowledge might be limited.

Therefore, my next philosophy is to keep an open mind, always. Always expanding our knowledge and trekking into the unknown is very good for us. Again, this is more like a guideline than a philosophy. But I prefer to call them philosphy, as I have already defined it as my moral and ethical guidelines.

I can keep on saying a lot more things. But this is enough to bring out a picture of my character I guess. One’s philosophy defines one’s character. Knowing a person’s philosophy of life, is like knowing the person himself/herself. Anyone out there like me? I am interested to know!:)

~Priya~

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