When I was young I was a massive fan of all things Martial Arts. I was obsessed. I had the book, the films, the equipment and the compulsory subscription to “Inside Kung-fu” magazine. This was the late 80’s so all that was cool (well sort of) back then.

In film there were many great stars of the genre Jackie Chan, Sho Kosugi, Gordon Liu, Jet Li and up and comers like Van Damme and Segal. The undisputed heavyweight of the genre though was still Bruce Lee (Even though he had died some 15 years earlier).

Bruce Lee had made martial arts cool, well at least for a little while, and I was a big fan. I had all his films and all his books. The Tao of Jeet Kune Do is still on my bookshelf in my dads house.

There is wisdom in the book statements like “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless!” wise words Bruce!

You see Bruce had something I didn’t, he had a philosophy. It told me so in all his books. Then I learned that Bruce had studied philosophy in university. That was it for me, if it was good enough for him, then it was good enough for me.

Out I went to the book store, and picked up “ The Basic Teachings Of The Great Philosophers” and I was all in.

A whole new world of ideas was opened up to me. Why was I here? What was my purpose? On and on the big questions came, with ideas of how to answer that from some of the greatest minds in history.

My world had magnified by a multiple of ten. No longer was a this little kid from Cardiff I was thinking about the big things the Universal Questions.

I read more and more books on philosophy, Kant, Nietzsche, Hume, Spinoza, Hegel on and on I read. Deeper and deeper I went down the rabbit hole. More questions, more answers to find.

Finally, Objectivism and Ayn Rand landed on my door step. I read “The Fountainhead”, “We The Living”, “Anthem” but it was “Atlas Shrugged” the big daddy of them all that really rocked my world. In it I found a philosophy that perfectly suited my then self. It gave me (with the help of reading some of her more academic books) a structured belief system that I could assess other ideas against.

I had my own me specific philosophy my own personal mental operating system, let’s call it MyPhilosophy 1.0.

This gave me an advantage over most people my age, in that most of the people I knew if they were to think at all had unformed opinions based on hearsay or whimsy or whatever the prevailing ideas were popular in our social circle. Not me though I had a framework. And like I say an intellectual advantage.

I would “not live for the sake of another man, nor ask no other man to live for the sake of me!” I even had the original quote next to my bed.

My thinking has come on a long way since my Ayn Rand days (not to say I don’t still hold with many of her ideas), but that is not the point. What I had at the start was an objective measure of how to frame ideas that were presented to me. Right or wrong at least I had that measure and could make fixed decisions as I had a philosophical foundation.

So here is the real big question “What do you believe, and why?”

If you have no answer or have never asked yourself these questions or maybe you have weekly formed notions maybe it is time to start to think about this.

For one it will free up so much mental energy that you have to use on trying to decide how you feel on certain subjects. It will give you to some degree logic and reason. Your views on certain subjects will be much more fully formed when you discuss things. So you may like to give philosophy a try.

Philosophy is a hard subject to jump straight into. So I want to give you a soft in. The easiest way I know to do this is to read the wonderful novel “Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder. It works as a fantastic introduction to philosophy and also has a bit of an Alice in Wonderland feel to it.

Maybe from there you will progress and find a philosophy of your own and who knows maybe you will stand at the door of Ayn Rand and be able to answer the enigmatic question of “Who Is John Galt?” and maybe when you can you will actually give a f**k!

Yours Philosophically

Snowy

NOTE: I wrote this a while ago and think maybe that it is a little rushed there is far more that I could add to this subject but hey maybe I will come back to it at some later stage. Until then give philosophy a go.