When the philosopher Musonius—one of the late period stoics of the same era as Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius—was asked which vocation a philosopher might best adopt, he answered: shepherd. As Musonius was not a shepherd himself, this made the point that philosopher was not a vocation, nor was it a title.
Philosophy is the love of learning and it is an attitude of living. A philosophy is thus not best stated in words or books but rather best stated in the way one lives.
It may be said that this understanding of philosophy considers it a form of wisdom contrasted with the traditional understanding, where it is more a form of [technical] knowledge.
Philosophy used to be all inclusive of everything needed to live well. Unfortunately, philosophy has later been fragmented into science, logic, and ethics. Science has been fragmented into thousands of specialized disciplines; logic is now a subset of math, and ethics is a class given out by the human resource department followed by a fun multiple choice test.
Instead of acquisition, productivity, or more is better, a traditional philosophy can be considered a complete way of life. A philosopher then is one who lives accordingly.
It was only when I wrote the book that I formulated my philosophy coherently and cohesively. The writing and thinking rationalized the process which made it possible to demonstrate it intellectually other than just living it. Reading a book of philosophy demands that the opposite process take place. The philosophy must be understood and then one must become a philosopher.
Hopefully the outcome of living such a philosophy will be a life lived well.
Originally posted 2010-09-13 17:26:00.