I have been thinking about you all during this time of unrest in the country, misinformation, and all the anxieties brought to light by the pandemic, gun violence and so much else. As a result, more people than ever have been seeking help for mental health issues
How can philosophy help? One way is to help us keep perspective. One way I do that is to think about the great people who have come before us. For example, Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
These quotes I have been sending out in these letter and in my essays in the modules can be memorized. When we memorize important phrases, this can help us in at least a couple of ways. For one, during the time we are memorizing we can’t be focused on negativity.
Second, we have proven now in neuroscience that the brain can be changed, “rewired” so that we stop dwelling on the negative and instead focus on what we can do. While we should all help in one way or another the fight for a more compassionate world, the main thing we can do is change our thinking, change our consciousness.
The Scottish historian and philosopher Thomas Carlye wrote: “Love is ever the beginning of knowledge as fire is of light.”
Yes, it is as simple and complex as that. Love is the answer. But a question remains, how do we learn to love, forgive and find compassion? We need mentors that we can look up to. We can find people who have a “finer vibration,” and hang out with them.
The greatest way, I think, is to meditate and do other “inner exercises.” I believe that the reminder that philosophy provides is the reminder to remember how little we know. When we do this it reduces the amount of time we think and act from a place of certainty. We judge ourselves and others less and with more compassion because we are never sure what it is like for other people or why they do the things they do.
Change your consciousness. Not only will this help the world, it will help you become the change we need. In other words, the greatest good you can do is to become a being that vibrates to a level that impacts all of those around us.
“You see persons and things not as they are but as you are.” I don’t know who wrote or said that, but it means a lot to me.