In my freshman year of high school, I took a two-year-long literature and history class. As I wrote my college applications during my junior year, I realized this course had taught me how to think and form true beliefs for myself.
It was peacefully gratifying. I became more secure in nearly all of my thoughts, opinions and questions. Perhaps most importantly, it opened my mind to how expansive knowledge is in this world.
I had two remarkably different teachers for the course: one quick-witted, religious, Republican bookworm (who I, remarkably, was very close with), and one quiet-but-deadly, atheist, Democratic wrestling coach, with an interesting passion for history. Both were equally genius, and they insisted on disagreeing with one another.
Nearly three years later, I was sitting in my first philosophy class (phenomenology with Professor Edward Lenzo) when I had an epiphany. The two comedically juxtaposed high school teachers had attempted to teach me how to reasonably philosophize my interactions with the world and its knowledge. Their method of teaching insisted that when looking at anything, we acknowledge all angles, profiles and modalities that exist. There are questions to be asked and possible answers to be given, and they must be. This was what my current philosophy class was centered around.
Afterward, I went to a writing class that had us look at the ethics and accuracy of war-time journalism, and then biology, where we read an article about the horribly racist men who founded the natural sciences.
In each situation, the only correct thing to do was to look at the whole picture: an essential part of philosophy, which tries to decipher what makes things as they [truly] are and our relation to that.
Were I to never relate chemistry and biology, I would never get a truly complete understanding of how our bodies, or even life, operate, for instance.
But by relating those two, and perhaps other partial sciences, a deep understanding develops, and I can nearly picture how a [bodily] movement occurs.
The same can be said for any field of study. Learning more about how to be impartial, holistic and neutralize my own predispositions, allowed me to develop a more complete and inclusive world of knowledge. Without philosophy, it is very easy to view a world in boxes where most subjects do not overlap.
In a world seemingly insistent on inclusiveness and truth, we have a tendency to hide, pick and choose.
Philosophy allows everyone’s experience to be valid, and phenomenology necessitates these experiences as part of the world. Phenomenology is a way of doing philosophy that attempts to encapsulate the diversity of human experience. Both foster revival of that which has been lost with all that has now been found.