Can Socrates Offer Millennials Much-Needed Meaning?
Academic Researcher Offers Real-World Applications
Mention philosophy to the average person on the street, and you’re liable to earn at least a few strange looks. For most, the majority of such content is restricted to obscure footnotes in books laypeople never read.
But philosophy and related disciplines have everything to do with everyday life, says Dean Chavooshian, an academic researcher.
“I want to motivate people to be inquisitive about what there is to know and gain knowledge – that idea people carry in their minds as disciplines hiding inside enormous books collecting dust in far corners of libraries – to be read after dinner, during lunch or before bedtime,” says Chavooshian, who has published his “The Pursuit of Wisdom” (thepursuitofwisdom.net) this year. The book chronologically outlines history’s most important names in theology, philosophy and science – fields that inform each other on the nature of human existence.
These three fields, however, tend to remain largely ignored by vast populations of intelligent minds – to the peril of a more enriched life. There is true significance and, yes, controversy to be understood among the world’s intellectual disciplines, he says.
“There’s a reason why Millennials frequently post quotes on social media from Martin Luther King, Jr., Plato, existentialists and religious leaders,” Chavooshian says. “As the lucky inheritors of these intellectual and spiritual giants, we learn something deep about ourselves.
Chavooshian explains some practical applications people – and especially young people – gain from an education exploring the nature of human existence.
• “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.” – Malala Yousafzai … The will of one teenage girl sent shockwaves throughout the world because of her thirst for an education and knowledge. Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, was shot by the Taliban at age 15 for her advocacy. Later, in a 2013 speech to the United Nations, she said, “I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists, especially the Taliban.”
“She knows that more education is key to combating extremist ideologies,” Chavooshian says. “It was 9th century Muslim scholars who contributed mightily to the foundation of modern civilization. Intellectuals like Al-Farabi advocated for reconciling Islamic doctrine with the fundamentals of Greek philosophy. Education changes the world.”
• Philosophy challenges your intuition and helps people understand each other. Would you believe that there’s ample drama in philosophy? There is, as played out in academia for centuries, and even today with fun and informal podcasts.
“The more you know, the more you get into these philosophical soap operas,” Chavooshian says. “With a basic foundation, you can find yourself amidst the drama of debate. Ultimately, you walk away with a clearer picture of how others reason and feel. It can cultivate a deep sense of empathy and compassion. This fosters an emotional intelligence that is useful in all aspects of a person’s life, including family matters, continued learning, a future career and spiritual ponderings.”
• Improve how to think and decide for yourself. “I’m particularly sensitive to the needs of inquisitive young people who are trying to find their voices,” Chavooshian says. “I dove into philosophy in my teens because I wanted a clearer picture of life’s significance. Unfortunately, philosophy, theology and even science can remain shrouded in obscurity, with abstractions upon abstractions and esoteric terminology. I want these fields to be accessible.”
On news channels and ads there’s the meme, “You decide!” Much of the time, however, young minds are guided by historical ideas for which they understand little or no context, he says. A background in philosophy and related fields, however, enables minds of all ages to dig deeper, and connect concepts, to realize how they truly feel within themselves, and how to create a meaningful life.”
“A foundational understanding of these intellectual domains is ultimatelyempowering to the young, flowering mind, and clarity to more mature thinking,” Chavooshian says.
About Dean Chavooshian
After earning a degree in Theology/Philosophy, Dean Chavooshian (www.thepursuitofwisdom.net) received a Master’s Degree in Architecture and harnessed a 30-year profession in real estate development. His position in prominent New York architectural firms and with international real estate developers resulted in the successful design, development and construction of more than 25 million square feet worldwide. Chavooshian passionately pursues a multilayered life that includes philanthropy, sports and academics: as the head of the venerable Village Temple Soup Kitchen in New York City since 1999, an ardent fly fisher for trout, a certified United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) teaching pro and high school tennis coach, and an author who continues a quest for knowledge and an elevated understanding of human existence.