Listening to Dead Philosophers

This post was originally published today at The Financial Philosopher.

Whenever a timely milestone, such as this new calendar quarter and the second half of the year, is reached I do my best to resist the tiresome looking-back-and-looking-forward ritual.  To remove myself from the timely chatter, I indulge in the timeless words of philosophers from another age.

Who better to provide the greatest unbiased perspective on today’s world than those who are not living in it?  Who would you prefer–today’s politicians, technocrats and mainstream media?

As we move into the third quarter, consider this guidance from dead philosophers:

…those who wish to know in what direction they are going would do well to give their attention not to the politicians but to the philosophers, for what they propound today will be the faith of tomorrow. ~ I.M. Bochenski (1902-1995)

Even if someone knew the entire physical history of the world, and every mental event were identical with a physical, it would not follow that he could predict or explain a single mental event (so described, of course). ~ Donald Davidson (1917-2003)

We do not, in fact step out of the movement of things, ask ‘What am I to do’ and, having obtained an answer, step in again.  All our actions, all our questionings and answerings, are part of the movement of things, and if we can work on things, things can work on us… ~ John Anderson (1893-1962)

All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse. ~ Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety. ~ Aesop (620-560 BC)

And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name. ~ Shakespeare (1564-1616)

A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one. ~ Heraclitus (c.536-470 BC)

It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible. ~ Aristotle (384-322 BC)

When the mind is in a state of uncertainty the smallest impulse directs it to either side. ~ Terence (195/185 – 159 BC)

Reasoning draws a conclusion and makes us grant the conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, nor does it remove doubt. ~ Roger Bacon (c.1214-1292)

It’s quite true what philosophy says, that life must be understood backwards. But one then forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forwards. A principle which, the more one thinks it through, precisely leads to the conclusion that life in time can never be properly understood, just because no moment can acquire the complete stillness needed to orient oneself backward.~ Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

The crowd is untruth. ~ Soren Kierkegaard(1813-1855)

Stubborn and ardent clinging to one’s opinion is the best proof of stupidity. ~ Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. ~ Lau Tzu (fl. circa 600BC)

Do any of these thoughts align with your philosophies?  If so, which one(s)?  If not, how would you describe your overall philosophy of money and investing?  Also, who do you listen to/watch/read to get the information that forms your philosophies and, hence, your actions?


This is a guest post from Kent Thune, blog author of The Financial Philosopher.

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