Philosophy is, according to my book of philosophers, 2700 years old, going back to Thales of Miletus for first proposing to come up with rational explanation of things as opposed to mythological explanations*. My question is, after so many years of philosophy, why aren’t we all philosophers? Why aren’t we all aspiring to become great thinkers greatly thinking great thoughts? There’s been ample time, and enough philosophical thoughts have been accrued to think about. There’s too many social, political, cultural and historical factors to take into consideration to give a simple answer to that I think, apart from, I suppose, there’s been a lot of people that have benefited from the ignorance of others, and others find that “ignorance is bliss”. I’m sure there’s many philosophers that can provide us with many different answers to my questions.
Maybe we’re talking about something only a few academic people are able to do, though I hardly think so; we are all capable of making sense of the world around us, and in a variety of ways. Typically there is a philosopher and then there is their “followers” that adopt the principles and identity of a philosophy, often uncritically, which isn’t very philosophical IMO. Later, another philosopher will come along and criticise and/or build on the works of previous philosophers, and then a whole new branch of philosophy is created.
Philosophical doctrines represent, to me, the accumulation of human wisdom that can be further built on. Philosophy represents a broadening, heightening and deepening of thought within each of us, and pursuing, individually and collectively, a more refined way of thinking in order to improve the way we live life on Earth – something which cannot be and is not the sole domain of academics; it is something very human.
*later on in the book another philosopher suggests that oral culture, not just written culture, should be included in this, making philosophy far older.