My Genesis

Hi everyone, my name’s Tony and I’m new and pretty new to life.

I just began my endeavour into philosophy and am pretty much at the beginning. The reason I’m so keen on learning philsophy is because I don’t have a sense of who I am or what my purpose on this planet is and I hope that philosophy can help me with this.
I want to be wealthy but the question that has been bugging me is why?
I also want to be a better person but not a psuedo better person who is fake and thinks posistively becuse someone says so (been there done that). I want to find true happiness and I think philosophy may be the answer.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. (I’ve recently started at the beginning (the pre-socratics and have read alittle plato and epictetus) But I want to really get into philosophy becuase as Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living”.

Thanks

Everyone is a philosopher. And that is just a word. you were a philosopher from the moment of conception.
Evolutionarily speaking(I doubt I speak any other way) humans evolved an ability and a desire to understand their environment because it’s handy for survival.
That desire is insatiable and the ability is as finite as the volume of information.
Only information exists outside of yourself. Understanding is within. Second hand philosophy serves the teacher first and the student second, and in a fight on the subject of the lesson, the student always loses. Only your own perspective will serve you first and allow you to be stronger(evolutionarily speaking, and that means stronger in all things). Agreeing with someone elses philosophy means you will always at least be second best.

Yes, I do understand the posts advice is a paradox, but it’s just my opinion.

But then if all information is outside of us than what do we really know? If I come up with a philosophy how do I know it’s correct? And just because I agree doesn’t make me second best, because if it’s truth it would never be a question about being the best.

If your philosophy is useful to either the survival of the human race or to the survival of your genetic lineage specifically, then you were correct.
Oran’s Lesson:
Right is a concept associated with an action that is useful to survival.
Truth is a concept associated with the thought conveyed which leads to the action that is right.
Wrong is a concept associated with an action that is detramental to survival.
Falsehood is a concept associated with the thought conveyed which leads to the action that is wrong.

What is useful to survival is chance, dependant on environmental circumstances.

Survival of the fittest on a level of understanding is the second tier of evolution, the first being survival of the fittest on a genetic level.

The sad thing is that the fact that you’ll never know if you were the fittest remains from the first tier.

Hi. Sounds like you might be interested in the existentialist view of philosophy. I’m sure, if you keep at, it you’ll run into Sartre, Camus, and the rest of the despairers: The Old Existentialism. But there’s a new existentialism too, Colin Wilson’s the only philosopher writing on the subject. He’ll introduce the world of philosophy from the point of view of the question of the meaning of existence. Strangely enough, the bulk of philosophy never takes at look this central, and very personal, question: What is the meaning of existence? Hope that helps!

P.S. Sorry about the typos; but you see what I’m getting at! I can’t edit with my cell phone, oh well!

Oran,
Why does philosophy have to be about survival, surely discerning the truth doesn’t always lead to survival and neither does it proclaim to do so. Your ideas about philosophy, in regards to truths and right or wrong, is surely one way to look at philosophy, but as Blaise_Mary posted, there are philosophies that see no “truth” or “right.” This is the beauty of postmodernism and existentialism. If there is going to be a comet hitting Earth in the next 48hours, philosophers would be useless. However, if you collapse science as a form of philosophy, then I can understand where your coming from, though I think that’s stretching it tooo much.

Platonotplaydough,
How did you like Epictetus? A bit too abrasive and strict for my liking, but then again he was a stoic, what more can you accept from a group that advocated suicide. Epicurus’ Principle Doctrines and Letter to Menoeceus is not a bad place to go next, he writes about happiness through moderation. classics.mit.edu/Browse/browse-Epicurus.html
For me, I use philosophy to find an underlying reality about all matters of life, from social norms to dogmatic beliefs. I’m very postmodern in my philosophy, in the sense that our current reality has no true meaning, an almost relativist position. So I use philosophy in order to find my own reality of the world, I don’t put too much emphasis on changing the world, I’m more interested in changing myself. The only truth that exists for me are laws and punishments, which we can change using philosophy.
I know exactly how you feel about wanting to know yourself and the purpose of life. Philosophy has helped me reach a better understanding of this, though I’m no where near it, but it has also led me to believe, like the existentialists, that life is pointless. Camus writes, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.” The myth of Sisyphus, if I can be cheesy, had changed the way I thought about life and philosophy in general. I take Camus’ quote and assert it in my own life, suicide isn’t such a horrible thing (for me), but being in my current condition (happy), I would rather avoid it. So Camus and the existentialists speak highly about self reflection, take care of yourself as much as possible, though they don’t speak so narcissistically.

I started to get into philosophy at around sophomore year of high school, so I used a lot of Wikipedia, which is an amazing beginners guide. Critical essays also help, which you can easily find on online journals.
It all depends on where you want to begin, either you start with the ancients or you go more modern. The best books, in my opinion, are the anthology series, like 20-30 texts (usually short excerpts) in each book.
You definitely have to read Kant & Hume on morals, as a stepping stone to morality in general. Mill is also good on morality, but he also focuses on happiness.