“This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness. I want to say here that it can never be our job to reduce anything to anything, or to explain anything. Philosophy really is ‘purely descriptive’.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
When Ludwig proposed such a statement, it shook the inner foundations of philosophical thought. Derived from this quote, I got a sense of a certain aesthetic at play, a vague suggestion of infinite change. The idea that there will always be more questions than answers, and perhaps even answers are merely words that only invite continuous meaning, rather than an end to a thought. Philosophy is an endless brainstorming session, but is it enough? What about examining why we question things in the first place? Perhaps the reason we ponder at all is to find where all the secrets lie, but first things first: why should you care about philosophy in the first place?
Math is the engine of sophisticated communication and interpretation. Science is the engine of prosperity and observation. What most people don’t know is that these engines of ideas upon ideas are in fact philosophy themselves. Then why is it that philosophy seems beyond the everyday, but in reality it’s constantly playing a role in our everyday lives? Every time you make a decision. Every time you question a certain mindset. Every time you share your own perspective. Logic and ethics themselves are becoming the main components in our domain. That’s philosophy and we engage in it all the time. Philosophy is questioning why your favorite color is your favorite color. It’s questioning who you are truly and where you came from. It’s questioning what is beautiful and why. From the simple to the complicated, philosophy always sparks thought and interest. It helps us thrive and gives us purpose. It is the raw art form of thought and questioning.
Metaphilosophy takes things a bit further, but it has equal importance, if not greater. Metaphilosophy is the idea of questioning why we ask questions. It questions why we need philosophy in the first place. It challenges the methods in which we question and think about things and pushes them to the limit. Now try to imagine going about your daily life. You may not specifically care about your environment in grave detail. You may not notice the way the road is paved or the shape of every cloud, but it doesn’t affect you. For most people it’s not that you don’t care about it or don’t think it’s relevant, you merely don’t think of it at all. Now why is that? This is where metaphilosophy picks up the sack. Metaphilosophy is our attempt to not only understand everything, but also why question anything, why do anything, why say anything, why are we having this discussion rather than not. Here is why I think about it and here is why I think it should matter to everyone.
The meaning of life for some is to flourish, for others it’s merely an experience – a flight of fancy. And for more than a few people, they don’t know, but regularly it falls among these two sub-categories. To flourish in any field of study or in any scenario, you must ask questions to get started. If you don’t ask questions, you embrace the raw experience of what happens when you don’t. When you come at it from the opposite angle, if all you do is experience, wouldn’t you wonder why you feel this way or if these feelings are uniquely yours? Those questions again led to flourishing and it’s all part of metaphilosophy.
For those who feel that life has no purpose has not gone up against the sublime phrase ‘’Why?’’
Asking why holds the key to endless possibilities and us as humans need to embrace that side of ourselves. Asking why is what got us to where we go today, the good and the bad. The only time it gets worse is when you stop asking.