The Use of Philosophy

Explore the joy of understanding with Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy." Delve into life’s meaning & wisdom as a source of delight. Learn more.

The Use of Philosophy
The preceding passage is from the "Story of Philosophy" published by Will Durant in 1926. Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. His contributions to the humanities were recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in 1968 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. Here he discusses the "use of philosophy." Let's read on...
Most of us have known some golden days in the June of life when philosophy was in fact what Plato calls it, "that dear delight"; when the love of a modestly elusive Truth seemed more glorious, incomparably, than the lust for the ways of the flesh and the dross of the world. "Life has meaning," we feel with Browning-"to find its meaning is my meat and drink."
We want to seize the value and perspective of passing things, and so to pull ourselves up out of the maelstrom of daily circumstance. We want to know that the little things are little, and the big things big, before it is too late." We want to learn to laugh in the face of the inevitable, to smile even at the looming of death. We want to be whole.
We shall seek [philosophy] not in its shriveled abstractness and formality, but clothed in the living form of genius; we shall study not merely philosophies, but philosophers; we shall spend our time with the saints and martyrs of thought, letting their radiant spirit play about us until perhaps we too, in some measure, shall partake of what Leonardo called "the noblest pleasure, the joy of understanding."

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Will Durant Collection