Nowadays the word ‘philosophy’ tends to be taken to mean your thoughts about something or someone’s ideas about things. In ancient times the word philosophy meant a lot more. The world itself actually translates as ‘love of truth’, and love of truth it was. The path of the philosopher was one of truth on all levels, learning the truth about the world around them, and not only speaking the truth but also being honest in all actions too. Only someone who was the truth could see the truth, otherwise inner deception would obscure their vision.
This may sound very simple, but being honest on all levels takes more skill and effort than most people would expect. It’s rather like making sure you have good posture in your body – often you will find that in order to get everything in alignment you need to gain flexibility or strengthen some areas of the body, or you may need to overcome an injury, or remove some spasm. Good posture also requires awareness and correction of habits in daily life, so you need to be using your mind and body in the correct way.
The same process is needed to be a true philosopher. You need to make sure you are thinking logically, listening to and in harmony with your emotions, and intuition. You need to make sure that your beliefs are based on evidence, not convenience. This ensures your thinking is integrated and free of inner conflict, making sure that you are seeking the truth and not what is to your personal taste or just works in that situation. Slowly building the right way of thinking, speaking and acting so as to bring your thoughts, words, and actions into alignment.
Many philosophers used to help those around them to wake up to areas where they needed line things up. Sometimes this would involve asking very simple questions that led to moments of clarity and awakening.
If you value kindness over your own pleasure as you profess to, then why are you more likely to spend your money on a holiday than on a lifesaving operation for a child?
If you believe family is so important, when are you having a child?
You look very strong Hercules, would a true hero not build his muscles chopping wood for the elderly rather than lifting weights in the gymnasium?
You can see why philosophers were often very unpopular!
In the Hermetic tradition philosophy is part of the purification of the soul and integration of the mind. The areas out of alignment or beyond our control in our personality are also the areas we are not able to coordinate in our meditations, preventing us from mastering our art. Likewise, as we become truth and our vision clears we are able to approach the higher truths. Those things that can only be perceived with the mind alone.