I would agree, but here I would make a distinction between practical philosophy for life, and philosophy as an intellectual pursuit. The latter, in my view, misses the point of philosophy - it analyses it without practically using it. Kind of like a business teacher at a university. — Coldlight
Great point, but sometimes I feel that they are not actually mutually exclusive but work in epistemic unity and so whether something you learn is relevant practically or not, it enables or strengthens your understanding and that can be applied in your interpretations. Think of it like this: you don't actually have static memories because as you continue to learn, your interpretations of those memories change. We learn about philosophy and we agree and disagree and start developing that independent language and how to process information and argue, but it takes time to become good men and women, as well as effort. Like a martial artist training everyday for hours on end until he reaches a point where he forgets everything he learns and becomes one with his skills.
I think you should be compelled to what interests you. I love moral and political philosophy, but I kind of have little interest in other areas and that is where the parallel lies between applied and intellectual. You choose what interests you first and foremost and then slowly begin to challenge and expand your thoughts. You just have to trust that things take time.
As for one of the practical purposes of philosophy, to relate it to the identity and consciousness that you raised, it definitely is clarity of mind. And that cannot be achieved without right techniques and habits that can be derived from philosophy, but don't necessarily have to be quoted by someone else. Talking endlessly about what 'clarity of mind' may mean can be interesting from an analytical point of view, but unless it fits the practical purpose, I find it fruitless. — Coldlight
I absolutely agree with you. You must find that independent route that works best for you because only you are aware of what you are capable of and what interests you; I also read Confucius and Lao Tzu to gain insight, despite their ambiguity, and included in that was film and fiction stories. If you are motivated by that primary goal of reaching that intellectual and emotional solidity, you will reach it but give your a realistic time-frame and I hope you can clarify why you feel that time here is a problem, could you explain?
Let's say I exercise. The exercise itself has benefits to my health, but can't naturally help me avert falling ill, having problems with muscles or the like. I may have achieved a healthy body after not too long a period of exercise, but because my body and my surrounding are changeable, I can fall ill anyway. So, it's not the exercise that was insufficient, and even after I recover, I can continue doing the same exercise. Similarly with philosophy, a routine and right habits may put me on a better track to live a good life. Bad things can and will happen. The purpose of the philosophy was to only get on that right track and live well. How long that takes, I don't know, but don't think there's a time scale that must be in a distant future. — Coldlight
I am not sure if that is the purpose of philosophy
. It is indeed helpful, but so are many other non-philosophical things including scientific enquiry, friendships and associates, social sciences etc. You can learn almost everywhere but thinking without prejudice involves escaping the grip of set-beliefs as that broadens and expands your capacity to think with more clarity. Forums like this enables you to communicate what you are thinking and allows others to try and verify whether your thinking is correct and this exercises a learning process, but you need to be willing and engaged and I feel that you may be disengaged from the process. All I can say is that your intent is on the right track, but your motivation is not.
My favourite quote by Epitectus: "Since it is Reason which shapes and regulates all other things, it ought not itself to be left in disorder."