PHILOSOPHY (Part 7) – The Achievability of the Two Aims of Philosophy

As was shown in the “Introduction to Philosophy“, Philosophy has two distinct aims, having at the same time sprung up and been born among men in accordance with the law of its natural birth there explained, for the purpose of perfecting men, which it accomplishes by advancing from knowledge to knowledge, growing and progressing on the road to scientific knowledge; and for the purpose of being useful and beneficial to all men, which it pursues when, having sufficiently grown up and attained to manhood, it is able to throw light upon and collocate all human affairs in accordance with reason. The pursuit and achievement of both these objects require in addition the discovery and proof of its own object; for until philosophy has philosophically found and scientifically proved its own object, it has not yet acquired the substance of a science and is wholly incapable of pursuing and accomplishing either the aim to perfect itself or the aim to benefit others. It becomes competent for the pursuit and achievement of both these aims when it possesses, as it now does, and can show a knowledge of its own object. For, by possessing a knowledge of its own object, philosophy can study it and comprehend it and proceed to the aim of perfecting itself by fulfilling what philosophical yearning it has to know through an object analogous to it; it can further pursue also the aim of benefiting, by everywhere exposing falsehood by means of the Truth of which it possesses a knowledge, collocating all human affairs in accordance with reason, introducing men to a peaceful and happy life, and ridding them of the division and confusion and unhappiness they are now laboring under. Therefore, having found and possessing a knowledge of and being able to prove its own object, philosophy has become capable of prosecuting and achieving both the aims it had to begin with – namely, the aim to perfect itself and the aim to benefit all men; and it must work unceasingly with the ability it has acquired to achieve both these great and high aims.

But how and by what means can each of these aims be prosecuted and achieved? The aim of perfecting itself and progressing can be prosecuted and achieved by the special method by which its object is studied and comprehended, and concerning which we shall subsequently say whatever is necessary to impart a full understanding of it. The aim of benefiting men can be prosecuted and achieved by means of war and victory against every lie and every error that ravage men and human affairs, and by means of the collocation of them in conformity with the noble and perfect nature of the object of philosophy. The object, for instance, of philosophy has been shown by psychology to be the bread and water, the food and life, the growth and perfection of the soul’s nature; it has been shown to be an object lying in the way of fulfillment of the three infinite yearnings of the soul, in the way of satisfying the religions, the political, and the educational needs of man – which needs are satisfied by true religion, true political organization, and true education, all flowing out of His most perfect nature. In pursuing the aim of benefiting men, therefore, philosophy first exposes the pseudo-religions, pseudo-political organizations, and pseudo-philosophies prevailing among men; and then it proves and offers to them the one and only true religion acquired from Christ, the one and only true political organization, the one and only true education and philosophy. Those who are persuaded and change sides from falsehood to truth, satisfying the needs of their own nature, become happy and blissful, getting the maximum benefit possible because they are relieved of utter misery and become partakers of everlasting bliss.

After psychology, logic showed that the object of philosophy is the absolute and universal Truth, which faithfully and exactly images and connects the eternal Being and the fact-in-time, which recapitulates in Itself God, man, and the world, and the relations between them. If anybody detests and shuns this first Truth thus clearly proved, he cannot love any truth at all, but only falsehood and folly; and is seed of the Serpent, the natural enemy of the Truth. On the other hand, the philosophy that is pursuing the aim of benefiting must not only expose falsehood and error, but also the falsity-loving seed of the Serpent, the falsity-loving and incurably corrupted men, by excommunicating them from the community of those men who are lovers of Truth, in order to prevent them from working injury to the latter.

After logic, ethics has shown the object of philosophy to be the universal law and rule of action governing all free persons; has shown it to be the perfect moral good, the criterion of virtue and vice, of the good and bad acts of all men, of all free persons, and of the acts of God Himself. Again, the philosophy that is pursuing the aim of benefiting men distinguishes the good acts of men from the bad, discriminates between virtue and vice, and persuades every man to think and act according to this perfect moral law, to shun all vice, and to cultivate every virtue, both of which are easily discerned by the light of science. Those who do so and become morally cultured are obviously recipients of the greatest benefit.

Finally, theology has shown the object of philosophy to be the perfect God begotten by the perfect God and become a perfect man in the course of time in accordance with the most perfect design of God, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” in order to establish it and realize it throughout its depth and breadth. Philosophy, then, working for the sake of benefiting the many, is in alliance with the Orthodox Church of Christ, and strengthens her dogmas and traditions, ordinances and rules of living and of governing Orthodox Christians, employs everything that now lies useless in the Church, exposes and opposes the abuses that take place therein, the prejudices that prevail as a result of the ignorance and lack of education among the clergy and the people, and enlightens and guides all into the way of salvation. In addition to all this, by proving itself to be true, because it has knowledge of the object peculiar to itself, the absolute and universal Truth, the Logos, or Rationale, of all that exists, philosophy exposes false philosophy and sciences falsely so called until they have been eliminated from the midst of men, and it alone remains together with the true sciences, illumining and collocating and guiding all human affairs.

While functioning in this capacity, philosophy pursues and achieves the aim of benefiting, gaining the mastery by war and victory, collocating human affairs in accordance with the most noble nature of its object, and bringing among men universal peace and a just and happy life, after abolishing the war that now exists among them and the unhappy life due to falsehood and error. But these works pertaining to the aim of benefiting and the like can be done only with the cooperation of many workmen and helping hands, some attending to religious matters, some to political matters, and others to educational matters. Without this cooperation the extirpation of evils and the collocation and government of society in consonance with the benevolent nature of the object of philosophy cannot be effected, just as no building can be built without the cooperation of many builders. A single philosopher, like a single architect, can only cognize and teach this great work of the aim of benefiting; he cannot do all the work. He can, however, by teaching philosophy and the philosophical sciences, form many wise men for the accomplishment of this work. Therefore, the practical aim of philosophy demands not only the writing and printing of books, but also the formation of many philosophers in accordance with the philosophical system that has already been composed, to work for the reformation of society in accordance with the perfect pattern of its formation. But this work, too, to be effected demands other provisions: It demands that the society in need of reformation understand and like the perfect type of its formation, to court the reformatory work instead of persecuting it through its depraved rulers. But we trust to the Lord: we believe that the God of light who has given. one man the true philosophy and philosophical sciences, who said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, will Himself give also the power for reformatory work, putting out of the way all obstacles and remodeling men in accordance with the mature and faultless type of the perfect man for the completion of the population of the eternal city; amen. Until God shall send down this power of affording practical benefit, philosophy pursues the aim of perfecting itself, by studying and comprehending its own object by a special method that we have now come to the point of saying something about.

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