Reading time: 6 min.
Philosophers from all times tried to solve the big universal philosophical problems; i.e. the universe and the nature, mathematics and science, perceptions and beings, and all the other moral questions such as the good, the evil or the justice.
But in the same way they dealt with all those crucial themes, they also always commented the contexts of their eras and their lands. On different levels, they stood up against the systems they knew; some of them paid it even with their lives.
Every era knew its revolutionary ideas, and most of the time, these ideas, beliefs and shared motivations among the people led to the big political and social changes. When we study the history, even on a superficial level, we find out that history orders the philosopher to renew the philosophical task until the end of time. This task should be here understood as a creative process for new ideas to change the world, once again! How many times have we already changed the world? Every time in the name of incomprehensible categories like justice, truth, god’s liberation, freedom, rights, etc. Philosophy has always failed to produce a world outside of this world (except in books), and finds itself always asked to act in a kind of emergency to differentiate the true from the false, the just from the unjust and to through some light on the dark sides of the common thinking and the established system. Finally, did we really succeed in changing the world? Not really. In appearance, there was for sure spectacular revolutions and incredible progresses; but on a deeper level, we only go through cycles of historical civilizations where the fundamental problems remain the same.
Today is not that different from earlier days. And the problems of the world today are the same of the ancient times. Injustice, sorrow, sufferance, war and the “evil” in general did not stop. And it is once again the task of philosophy to comment those problems which are simultaneously contemporary and transhistorical.
For that purpose, one question has to be asked: how should the philosopher intervene? This question is a hard problem in itself. The big problems of every era find their solutions within the public opinion and the global actions of the people themselves. The opinion leaders and the philosophers are then asked to take part in the debate and suggest some ways to act. But prior to this step, their role is to awake the consciousnesses, to show that things the way they are are unacceptable, and to light the desire to revolt among the population.
This task is hard and has always been; it is even dangerous sometimes. In all the laws all over the world, there are always some texts to condemn the revelation of secret data or the incitation to public disorder or civilian disobedience.
But those who represent the biggest challenge for anyone who would have the ambition to revolutionize the world are the people themselves, the people who are so well used to the habits of any established order. People revolt only when they become conscious about their situation of slaves within a system, and when they start to put together their power to free themselves. Without this common consciousness, even the worst tyranny could last for decades and centuries through the help of a submissive population and collaborators who prefer to have something to eat and drink rather than to risk their lives for the sake of an utopia of freedom and emancipation.
Our era is not different from those general remarks. The problems of our era are the same like those of the ancient times, adding to that the fact that they became globalized. Thus, the solutions have to come from worldwide actions. But it is a big challenge to gather people from different countries and cultures around revolutionary ideas and actions.
The philosopher necessarily finds himself faced to this challenge, and it is very likely that the biggest philosopher of the 21st or the 22nd century would be the one who proposes a general philosophy, a political and an economic philosophy that would save the world from this financial and economic system in which the humanity is caught. It became more and more obvious that the main way of reasoning in politics is only based on numbers and economic indicators like the unemployment rates, the GDP growth, the foreign investments, exports, public debts, etc. It is as if all the problems of the world and their solutions are to be found in economics and nowhere else. Health, art, science or environment issues are necessarily put under the perspective of economy.
This economic imperative became a global culture that we can find within governments and even individuals. The social actors, almost all of them, obey to a logic of enrichment without any other further goal, because the enrichment became the goal in itself, and there is nothing beyond this ultimate goal. We can observe this phenomena at all social levels: governments, companies, and individuals. The governments compete to enhance their economic and military power, the companies have just one goal: maximize their profits. And the individuals spend the majority of their time trying to get richer.
Even if the actions of all those actors seem totally empty of meaning and are leading to different catastrophes, we rarely hear voices suggesting global and credible solutions for the contemporary problems. On the contrary, what we notice is some calculations of those who try to hide themselves into their small worlds to avoid the problems of the others, or the politicians who try to turn the situation in their profit by trying to win next elections, or those who try to restructure their businesses to make them as safe as possible from economic uncertainties and crisis. At the individuals level, there is a majority of people which has neither the time nor the capacity to think out such big problems; and there are others who believe in nothing else except their bank account, the safety of their house, their family and their retirement. The pleasures of consumption give them enough leisure and satisfaction to make them ignore the rest of the beings. They actually feel totally innocent from what can happen to the others.