Growing Our Personal Philosophy

Posted on August 29, 2012

5


The Socratic Method

The Socratic Method (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I work to pack, and hopefully move and then unpack my books for an upcoming move,  I thought it might be helpful to share some quotes from authors and books that you may or may not have heard of.

Today’s quote comes from Norman Cousin’s book The Celebration of Life.  He is perhaps best known for his bestseller Anatomy of an Illness, which was a groundbreaking book in 1979 where he discussed how we can use our minds to heal our bodies.

I enjoy The Celebration of Life for how Cousins used the Socratic method through a series of questions and answers.  You might have noticed that I like questions in this blog. :)

This is a short excerpt from this very insightful book by Cousins:

One grows into one’s philosophy.  Year by year an individual is shaped by the sights, the sounds, the ideas around him.  Consciously or not, he is forever adding to or subtracting from the sum total of his beliefs or attitudes or responses, or whatever it is we mean when we say that a person has a certain outlook on life.  I do not mean to say that a person has a certain outlook on life. I do not mean to say that clearly defined truths of religions and philosophies are inevitably subject to the interpretation of an individual according to his or her experience.  But I would like to suggest that one of the prime glories of the human mind is that the same idea or occurrence is never absorbed in precisely the same way by any two individuals who may be exposed to it.  Each of us views a sunset, reads a book, or participates in a conversation in a different way from another, and each will take from these experiences a different meaning and memory, which will enrich the common human experience.

In this sense, each human being is a process —  a filtering process of retention or rejection, absorption or loss.  This process gives each person individuality.  It determines whether a human being justifies the gift of human life, or whether he or she lives and dies without being affected by the beauty of wonder, and the wonder of beauty, without having had any real awareness or human fulfillment.

Norman Cousins

Daily Contemplation:

How has your philosophy of life grown in the last year?

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Posted in: Artful Living