Yesterday I looked up the qualifications of “philosopher” and came across this definition that was offered on Quora:
“If you want, seek or need “qualifications”, you’ll never be a real philosopher. You can be a philosophy student, a philosophy professor or something in that vein (or vain — or even “vane” if you can grasp my abstract meaning).
Philosophers were brilliant thinkers who could see beyond standard thinking and lead man to better understand life and the human experience. There have only been a few of them. Philosophy professors and experts are well versed in other people’s thinking — amazingly so in some instances. There are and have been thousands of them — brilliant in their own way, but incapable of formulating vision on their own. They are far too stuck in ideas initiated by other people to recognize the function of Consciousness/Reality beyond their deduced “truths”.
Equate these two types (real philosopher vs. philosophy student) to composers vs. performers. There are many wonderful pianists who can play Chopin with perfection and expression. But there was only one Chopin. Gobs of academicians argue Kant’s ideas or assign meaning to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. But the originators were guys who could see things beyond standard thinking of their time.
Generations of philosophy students up until our time only bandy about preset ideas, conceptualizations others initiated.
In any case, if you are fascinated with ideas, indulge in philosophy and want to explore the vast array of -isms and -ologies, set your sights on being a philosophy professor, retreating from the real world and impressing people with your command of minutia concerning established (but invalid and non-functional) ideas.
If you are capable of seeing Reality as the flowing, fully integrated Oneness that it is, responding in the scope of each individual’s life to his/her deep inner Self — and if you are capable of discerning the function of the subconscious in a depth beyond established theory — and if you have the capability of expressing your vision in understandable terms — and if you have the fortitude to proceed in life even though most others don’t grasp your perspectives — and if you have added capacities or external wealth to not have to depend on income derived from your valuable insights…
Then you can be a real philosopher. With one exception I know of, real philosophers went extinct with Wittgenstein a century ago. But in a very troubled time, there is surely an opening for such a free-thinking individual…” — Thomas Daniel Nehrer
My takeaway from Mr Nehrer’s definition is that a free thinking individual should be just that; free to use what she observes while in first principals mode and draw her own conclusions on the “why” of the world. She frees herself of the general consensus which brings her closer to freedom.
A philosopher won’t make it her first point to regurgitate someone else’s principles, observations, or conclusions although she may readily admit the moments when she does share another person’s position on an issue. But a philosopher should always be ready challenge her and anyone else’s conclusions by questioning them. She should always be ready to ask, “What am I seeing?” and “What does it mean” according to her own rules.
I don’t believe I should be ready to join the first “academy” that raises its head. Nor m I afraid that avoiding consensus means inviting chaos and disorder. I am not afraid of viewing order as temporary but admit its pursuit by humans is a constant. Man is so ready to create order at the expense of enslaving what is natural that he creates the very prison his alleged pursuit of freedom wants to avoid. Where that moment of harmony and collegiality arises, yes, enjoy it, for it is the exception, not the rule.
This type of freedom scares the academy. It is no wonder it is becoming less influential.