Forming Not Merely Informing

One could say that ancient philosophical discourse aimed at forming rather than informing students. – Pierre Hadot

It may seem strange to think of philosophy as a transformative activity, but it used to be. To the Epicureans and Stoics, this was what it was.

But if you go to a philosophy class in almost any university, what do you find? Information, not transformation.

I would argue that most “philosophers” today are not pursuers of wisdom, but peddlers of theories. They play word games, study logic, and practice rhetoric, but wisdom is not even on their radar.

“I have felt very strongly,” writes Pierre Hadot, “that it was Epicureanism and Stoicism which could nourish the spiritual life of men and women of our times, as well as my own.”

Have you ever thought of philosophy as nourishing the spiritual life?

Published by

Jay N. Forrest

Zen Humanist Teacher.