glyph 529: authenticity, character, philosophy, thinking, creativity, generativity, responsibility 0


What is a philosopher?

by Yasuhiko Kimura

Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, on his Facebook page, October 10, 2013

Philosophy is not a profession. Being a philosopher is not having a profession called philosophy. Being a philosopher means to engage in the never-ending quest for being fully and authentically human. In the ultimate sense, to be a philosopher is to be an authentic human being. Therefore, teaching philosophy involves exemplification—to be an example of the engagement in the never-ending quest for being authentically human—for being an authentic human being. Authenticity involves authorship, that is, being the author of one's own life, and therefore thinking, creativity, generativity, and responsibility. Authenticity also involves authority, that is, being the authority of one's own self and for one's own life, and therefore integrity, power, commitment, and action. And to develop as a philosopher, to evolve as an authentic human being, one needs to have the attitude disposed toward love of and passion for truth, knowledge, and wisdom. In the process of developing as a philosopher, one becomes an invitation to philosophy—to being an authentic human being. Let us not corrupt the purity of philosophy by turning it into a specialized field or a particular profession.

and, on March 26, 2015

Philosophers: Speak and write simply and potently. Do not confuse complexity or obscurity with true profundity. Do not confuse clever re-wordings, re-phrasings, neologies, or jargons with real originality or insight.

If intelligent laypersons cannot understand your writing, then you have failed not only in your communication but also in your thinking. If they become confused, it is simply because you are confused. If they find your thought complex or obscure, it is because you have complicated and obfuscated your thought unnecessarily.

Speak and write simply so that people can understand you. Speak and write potently so that their understanding progressively deepens as they continue in their study of your work.

And if you want to be truly profound, not merely to be a maze of thoughts, from time to time, you must offer up your accumulated confusions. Burning confusion on the altar of Intelligence is not a betrayal of the quality of thought but rather it is to connect your thought with the very reason for thinking and the ultimate reason for being a philosopher.
January 13, 2014; edited/updated November 26, 2015

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