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Pathways to Philosophy

An Intimate Reflection

by Ruel F. Pepa


(On the sensitivity and sensibility of human life... hopefully towards a transformative philosophizing)


'Truth is subjectivity.' Soren Kierkegaard

'One should write philosophy only as one writes a poem.'Ludwig Wittgenstein

'There are no facts, only interpretations.'Friedrich Nietzsche


Part I

LIFE GETS UNEASY when you feel you seem to be at the end of the road. Forces pull you to the wayside — to the left, to the right. There's no going onward. You tell yourself, the visible reality has done so much to your sanity. "I am here right now because the things I have been doing are within the light of consciousness. I have met lonely events and joyful ones and I have learned lessons from them in the light of that consciousness."

Consciousness meets this world of the senses and we hitch our dreams, our aspirations, on it. We shed real tears in the deepest moments of our tragedies. Our laughter echoes in the loftiest moments of celebration. And then, the sober moments of reflection as we consider going on in life. Well, it surely doesn't end here right now. But my gut-feeling doesn't intend to give up yet. At least, not now... not yet.

Ideas... ideas... ideas torpedoed into my mind, coming from so many directions. Appeals from the depth of the scientific and the analytic convince the intellect to sing paeans of praises to the comfort and delight bestowed by the achievements of modernity — the wonders of technology, the life that has been made easy by a myriad of gadgets, instruments and equipment that rule households, offices and workplaces, even classrooms and game-rooms of the modern age.

Yet, appeals of equal magnitude emanate from the spirit. That which sustains the human in me brings me to the innermost recesses of my being and convinces me that the ocean of feelings is far deeper than the superficiality of what may be quantified and measured, analyzed and captured by the senses in the one-dimensional segments of time... in the three-dimensional character of space. What gives excitement to life, what makes me consider the significance of it, what leads me to an appreciation of the beautiful, the good, and the true, lies deeply in the core of my being. It is solely the depth of my spirituality that has access into it. No instruments of modern technology can ever scratch even the outermost filament of its covering.

It is only the authentic me that has the power to embrace the rise and fall of the waves in this ocean of feelings. It is the untaught spirit of life in me that breathes meaning in the celebration of eternity amidst the dances of change, amidst the weaving and unweaving of colors that burst in the skies of rejoicing and fall on the ground of defeat and disappointment.

But life goes on in transcending the here and now. The overcoming continues. After the fall, we want to rise. This is the elan of life. The most primal life-force persists and that's the drive of life. The single outstanding request brought about by the consciousness that comes out of it is a sincere appreciation of this life-force's delicate operation in the sensitivity and sensibility of humanity. It is not the scientific and the analytic that have guided us to chart the deepest corners of the realm of the spirit. None of the five senses can access even the periphery of its threshold.

But the scientific and the analytic, the spiritual and the emotional are all human. And it is so lamentable that there are forces that have torn them all apart. What could be philosophical at this point is to ask questions, however heart-rending and passion-filled these questions may be. Is there no center where a convergence point is located? Isn't a sense of elation expressed in triumphs as humanity appropriates the achievements of science and technology? Can we heighten our spirituality as we positively relate with the wonders of science and technology? Is there a way whereby the workings of modern science and technology can effect physical-chemical changes for the human organism to have a positive attitude towards life? Where do we focus now the eyes of meaningful philosophizing — towards the greatness of science and technology and the force of objectivity that animates them, or towards the dignity of human spirituality that exalts the interiority of the human in the depth of subjective being? In what area can philosophizing be truly transformative in consideration of these sides?

Part II

READING POST-MODERN PHILOSOPHY is totally impossible for those who cannot accept the fact that philosophy is basically subjective interpretation of individual human experience. In this case, philosophy is therefore not concerned with the analytico-mathematical and the scientific. These critics of post-modern philosophy have gotten so confused as they try to mix matters of the objective and matters of the subjective. Of course, two plus two will never become five in any possible world. Neither can matters of scientific experimentation be of interest to the philosopher.

I'm so disappointed that practitioners of the sciences and the mathematical fields have gone terribly arrogant to dabble into the things of another dimension — the philosophical. We are now in a more enlightened era where we can definitely distinguish between the scientific (objective) and the personal (subjective). This is the post-modern world and post-modern philosophers are the ones able to perceive and understand the dynamics of the time.

The issue of philosophy is actually the issue of meaningfulness — the meaningfulness not of anything else but life-of my life specifically (subjectively) and of human life in general (inter-subjectively). Meaningfulness as an issue is all-encompassing, i.e., objectively and subjectively. However, in philosophy it is definitely focused on the subjective personal experiences of individual human beings.

The meaningfulness of my life is not dependent on what science or mathematics tells me. Life's meaning transcends the scientific and the mathematical.

Philosophy brings us to more exciting terrains of life where the wind of freedom blows incessantly, and carries us to new discoveries in uncharted milieus-unstructured, rustic, pregnant with mysteries; open to be molded by the power of the subjective mind, challenging the human spirit, defiant of the dictates of meta-narratives imposed by arrogant systematizers coming from the alien territories of science and mathematics.

Philosophy empowers us to be in perfect control of our personal individual lives. Philosophy brings us to the deepest recesses of our individuality. Philosophy affirms our humanity that has its being without any necessary connection with the objective. Philosophically, the objective is trivial, given, may be done away with, in the process of subjective signification. Philosophy transforms us in ways that can never be done by the sciences and mathematics. Philosophy is an expression of human freedom. Philosophy is in a dimension unlimited by the hard boundaries of objective requirements. Philosophy is subjective freedom in a situation of praxis — the subjective reflection of human experience which, individually, is of subjective character.

I think... I believe... I feel what I believe. I believe what I feel.

© Ruel F. Pepa

E-mail ruelfpepa@yahoo.com

Trinity College
Quezon City
Philippines