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Measles, rheumatics, whooping-cough, fevers, agers, and lumbagers is all philosophy together; that's what it is. The heavenly bodies is philosophy; and if there's a screw loose in a earthly body, that's philosophy too; or it may be that sometimes there's a little metaphysics in it, but that's not often. Philosophy's the chap for me.
Our conviction that the world is meaningless is due in part to the fact (discussed in a later paragraph) that the philosophy of meaningless lends itself very effectively to furthering the ends of political and erotic passion; in part to a genuine intellectual error - the error of identifying the world of science, a world from which all meaning has deliberately been excluded, with ultimate reality.
When I had gone through the whole, and saw what a plain, simple, reasonable thing Christianity was, suited to all conditions and capacities; and in the morality of it now, with divine authority, established into a legible law, so far surpassing all that philosophy and human reason had attained to, or could possibly make effectual to all degrees of man kind; I was flattered to think it might be of some use in the world.
In the course of my life I have often had intimations in dreams "that I should make music." The same dream came to me sometimes in one form, and sometimes in another, but always saying the same or nearly the same words: Make and cultivate music, said the dream. And hitherto I imagined that this was only intended to exhort and encourage me in the study of philosophy, which has always been the pursuit of my life, and is the noblest and best of music.
But in a little measure my small voice of individual experience does join in the declaration of philosophy that the good is the only world, and that world is a world of spirit. It is also a universe where order is All, where an unbroken logic holds the parts together, where disorder defines itself as non-existence, where evil, as St. Augustine held, is delusion, and therefore is not.
The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues. For the learning of every virtue there is an appropriate discipline, and for the learning of suspended judgment the best discipline is philosophy.
Philological considerations have slowly but surely taken the place of profound explorations of eternal problems. The question becomes: What did this or that philosopher think or not think? And is this or that text rightly ascribed to him or not? And even: Is this variant of a classical text preferable to that other? Students in university seminars today are encouraged to occupy themselves with such emasculated inquiries. As a result, of course, philosophy itself is banished from the university altogether.
Philosophy may have gained by the attempts in recent years to look through the fiction to the fact and to generalize corporations, partnerships, and other groups into a single conception. But to generalize is to omit, and, in this instance, to omit one characteristic of the complete corporation, as called into being under modern statutes, that is most important in business and law.
The political, the economic philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that we have to become involved in a program of re-education to educate our people into the importance of knowing that when you spend your dollar out of the community in which you live, the community in which you spend your money becomes richer and richer; the community out of which you take your money becomes poorer and poorer.