“Each man flees from himself; but as one might expect, the self which he cannot escape cleaves to him all the more against his will. He hates himself because, a sick man, he does not know the cause of his complaint. Any man who could see that clearly would cast aside his business, and before all else would seek to understand the nature of things.” – Lucretius, De Rarum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

As complex as philosophy is, the context in which it presents to most people’s immediate need comes down to a single vital issue – how should I live my life? Or perhaps the similar, but less strictly accurate question – what is the meaning of life? It should be immediately apparent that neither form of this basic question can be answered without some level of preliminary consideration on the nature of reality.

Therefore the two fundamental questions in logical order that underlie the very core of each human life are:

(1) What is the nature of reality?
(2) How should I conduct myself in the world?

Alternatively we might say the two supreme rewards of philosophy are understanding and guidance. They are the precious treasures of philosophical study. Together they define the word wisdom.

(continued next post)

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