Social SciencesThought

Why do older people appreciate philosophy?

The growing attendance of members to my philosophy sessions caused me to consider the above question. I think that the answer might lie in the age profile, perhaps also in the variety of backgrounds of those who attend. We now have so many more experiences of life’s trials and oscillations. We can speak with some authority of matters such as morality, religion or human nature: we have all lived through these aspects of life and learnt some lessons.

Secondly, we all enjoy learning again. There is no subject better equipped to satisfy this than Philosophy. It combines our own knowledge with “the history of Ideas”. To learn again– giving your own point of view– with colleagues and presenter over a liberal range of subject matter proves uplifting and self- affirming.

Most of our age group will be parents and grandparents, who look to the future and the subsequent wellbeing of their offspring. This is a natural feature of growing older too. Philosophy considers much of this when it asks its basic question: “How should we live our life as human beings?”. So, we can sometimes predict as well as reflect in our mental considerations.

Over the past three years we have discussed aspects of the philosophies of Science, Religion, Ethics, Politics, Psychology, History in an interesting and informative way, hopefully inspiring some extra observation or reading.

Basically, the stimulus of philosophical debate, learning and sharing its perceptions, perhaps puts our ‘Third Age’ into clearer perspective whilst offering us an element of the wisdom that we older people are expected to retain.

As the subject presenter, I too have learnt a lot from the group dynamic as well as from studying the multifarious topic itself. Let us all learn together for as long as we can!

This is what Socrates thought:
—Life without discourse would be unworthy of man
—An unexamined life is not worth living