Nice cover

Nice cover

Section X, The Independent Philosopher
    Our independence itself requires help. We can only do our best and hope that something within us—invisible to the world—will in some unfathomable way come to our aid and lift us out of our limitations. The only independence possible for us is dependence on transcendence.
    I should like to give some intimation of how a measure of independence can be achieved in philosophical thought today:
    Let us not pledge ourselves to any philosophical school or take formulable truth as such for the one and exclusive truth; let us be master of our thoughts;
    let us not heap up philosophical possessions, but apprehend philosophical thought as movement and seek to deepen it;
    let us battle for truth and humanity in unconditional communication;
    let us acquire the power to learn from all the past by making it our own; let us listen to our contemporaries and remain open to all possibilities;
    let each of us as an individual immerse himself in his own historicity, in his origin, in what he has done; let him possess himself of what he was, of what he has become, and of what has been given to him;
    let us not cease to grow through our own historicity into the historicity of man as a whole and thus make ourselves into citizens of the world.
    We lend little credence to a philosopher who is imperturbable, we do not believe in the calm of the Stoic, we do not even desire to be unmoved, for it is our humanity itself which drives us into passion and fear and causes us in tears and rejoicing to experience what is. Consequently only by rising from the chains that bind us to our emotions, not by destroying them, do we come to ourselves. Hence we must venture to be men and then do what we can to move forward to our true independence. Then we shall suffer without complaining, despair without succumbing; we shall be shaken but not overturned, for the inner independence that grows up in us will sustain us.
    Philosophy is the school of this independence, it is not the possession of independence.
Appendix II, On Reading Philosophy 
    Philosophical thought is concerned with the ultimate, the authentic which becomes present in real life. Every man as man philosophizes.
    But the developments of this thought cannot be understood at a glance. Systematic philosophy calls for study. Such study may be divided into three parts:
    First: Participation in scientific inquiry. From its two main roots in the natural sciences and in philology scientific discipline branches out into innumerable specalized fields. Experience in the sciences, their methods, their critical approach makes for the scientific attitude indispensable to honest philosophical endeavour.
    Second: The study of great philosophers. We cannot find our way to philosophy without a knowledge of tis history. In his journey upward the student draws nourishment from the great works. But he can succeed in his journey only through actual participation, through his own philosophical thinking which is awakened in study.
    Third: A conscientious approach to the conduct of daily life, seriousness in crucial decisions, a sense of responsibility for our acts and experience.
    To achieve a clear and true philosophy we must devote ourselves to all three aspects. Everyone, and particularly every young man, must decide exactly how he means to approach them; he can apprehend only the minutest fraction of their potentialities. These questions arise:
    In which branch of science shall I seek specialised knowledge?
    Which of the great philosophers shall I not only read but study intensively?
    How shall I live?
    Each man must answer these questions for himself. The answer must not be a fixed formula, it must not be definitive or external. The young in particular must preserve themselves in a state of potentiality and experiment.
    I venture these maxims: proceed resolutely but do not run aground; test and correct, not haphazardly or arbitrarily but in a constructive spirit, retaining every experience as an effective force in your thinking.