The word philosophy comes from a Greek expression meaning ‘love of wisdom’. When your Grandma comes out with a great phrase like ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ or ‘The difference between a rut and a grave is six feet,’ they are expressing wisdom passed down to them. And it will be something they have thought about and if they’ve repeated it would have considered worth repeating. They would have philosophised about it. Yes, your gran: a philosopher.
As we have with a lot of things, generally during part of our history known as the ‘Enlightenment’, we confined the role of philosophy to well placed, educated individuals who we called philosophers. In short we were a bit elitist and a bit classist about it all. What we were saying, or some folk were, was that only this elite, this high-end educated class could think. It was only they who had the key to the city of wisdom.
To be fair a great deal of these men came out with some fantastic ideas which they wrote down well. Some of them came out with some very odd ideas, which for some reason some of us take pride in repeating today. The point is we voluntarily confirmed that only a few elite individuals had a right to consider the mysteries of the world. These were the ‘clever men,’ (who usually had a lot of money). The rest of the people spent their time trying to survive and trying to avoid dying before the age of 40.
But the world has changed. This isn’t the case now. Just look around. All of that great art, poetry, prose and media that we create involves wisdom. Whether its ‘Youtube’, ‘WordPress’, a letter in the local paper or a conversation with your mum before X-Factor: it all involves thinking. And thinking is philosophy. Thinking clearly is a potential which is open to all of us and a lot of us do it without even realising we do. So I salute you: the philosopher kings of the day.