I have an upcoming paper, which has to do with my personal philosophy, and I was wondering if you guys would be so kind as to give it a read and let me know what you think before I begin editing it into a final draft. Be warned, this is somewhat of a long [but worthwhile] read, so bring some food or something. EDIT: Cleaned it up a bit based on the wonderful tips given by ndela007 and Strokemouth; any further input from the community would be greatly appreciated. Ever since the world began, humans have been presented with problems and issues that cause them to seek within themselves. Trials and tribulations have been teaching us about ourselves for millions of years. Through personal experience, one gains an immense amount of knowledge that helps them proceed in their day-to-day lives successfully. Different people have been through many different things in life however, thus causing their views to be molded differently. How has my life affected my deeper views thus far? These are my morals, my beliefs, my philosophy. Self-expression isn’t something you can learn from a textbook, it’s something you must develop. You must have passion and a determined mind to engage in the creation of artistic works. Esthetics, much like the vast amount of philosophical beliefs out there, vary from person to person. Some people may view a subject as a work of art, an unimaginable masterpiece. Others however, may scorn that same piece and disregard it as a true work of art. I’ve come to learn, however, that it isn’t always about receiving the critiques and praise of others. Philosopher Theodor Adorno once said, “It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident any more.” This quote is very true because artists and philosophers alike all use the notion of their art in their own respective fields. There is no absolute definition of art; in fact, it’s constantly changing over time. Most of the time, all that matters is the final outcome, as the author himself perceives it. That is where the true underlying meaning of artistic quality comes from. Additionally, if an author knows for a fact that his piece is of true artistic value to them, they may try to spread their object (and possibly their heavy belief in this) to the greatest amount of people, as if communicating with the masses through their piece. This is when the author must prepare to receive criticisms and backlash. It is my personal belief that if the author always remembers what the piece represents to them personally, they can endure any amount of scorn. Ethics, as opposed to the previously mentioned ideal of self-expression, is heavily influenced by figures of authority and those close to you in most cases. If only ethics could begin to be developed [by ourselves, for ourselves] at birth, then our choices would be more personal. Higher figures of authority create all the rules and regulations that all of society is expected to follow. Every new generation is influenced by the past generation, and society standards are constantly modified. Those who raised me since birth influenced my personal ethics heavily. Of course, I’ve been with them most of my life, so I tend to adopt the traits of their morals as well. Luckily, I was raised with some pretty good traditions and beliefs, and I believe that I have become a decent human being because of it. As we mature however, we take in morals and behaviors from others as we explore further through the world. At times, the morals that we have been using for the longest time may become tested. It is at these times that one’s true ethical beliefs are revealed and one can learn many things from one’s self, morally. As advanced as we are, there are still many things that we don’t know and perhaps will never know. Metaphysics is indeed one of those categories in which many things are not known and one’s beliefs must be applied in order to form some sort of view on what life truly is. Aristotle, the father of Metaphysics, argues some very interesting points about the conclusion of life. He constructs an ideal of a “Final Cause,” when the sake of which a thing exists for is completed. I tend to think that a similar theory is applied when one’s life nears its end. We all contribute in some way to this world, whether we realize it or not. By simply existing and functioning in this world, we affect many aspects around us, ultimately shaping the universe. There is a “Final Cause” for everyone, and this can only be accomplished by one’s self. However, I believe that factoring in a “Final Cause” theory diminishes any chance of there being any kind of reincarnation after death. Once one fulfills all that is needed to be done in their lifetime, they’re sent to a location of afterlife. We are composed of two elements, body and soul. Our body is our physical element, used to function in daily life, while our soul is what actually will progress and carry on after death of out physical selves. The soul is eternal. One of our main purposes in life is to acquire information through the countless experiences we go through. One aspect of Epistemology theorizes that we already have the answers to everything. When we feel that we have learned something new we are simply becoming aware of something we already knew. I strongly disagree with this theory. As I stated earlier, there are many areas and questions in life that we can never hope to obtain the proper knowledge to. If we are simply being reminded of things that we already know, then our personal character would be a lot more developed then it is now. Obtaining new knowledge is crucial to progression in all people, we cannot simple be “reminded” of the same information that every single person already knows. People’s truths also vary, not everyone’s truths are the same, and most of the time, it’s not entirely impossible to know if something is true or not in the first place. This, in turn, leads me to doubt the concept of universal knowledge. This leads me back to another facet in all people’s lives, human nature. We are constantly molding and changing ourselves around when questions are posed and debates ensue. As long as one continues to exist, one will continue to change. Sartre believed in the ideal that “existence precedes essence;” we must first exist in order to then develop an essence that completes our existence. Human nature can sometimes lead individuals to become dangerous and get out of hand. This is due to an incompatibility of inner discipline. In order to control outward emotions and actions, inner emotions must first be tamed and progressive growth must occur. Personal responsibility grabs attribute from all previously mentioned points in this essay and transforms them for physical use in society. Society involves much interaction and communication among people. I feel that in order to communicate with others, you must first present yourself as a benevolent member of society. By giving this impression to others you influence their lives in a positive way. I’m also a firm believer in the areas of Altruism and Utilitarianism. In order for all of society to benefit as a whole, individuals must aid other peers as often as possible. Society needs to stop functioning as a selfish group and start working together as a whole to advance towards higher standards. I’ve always been about lending a helping hand to those in need, even if you’ve been going through a tough time period. You yourself gain a positive outlook and you also reach out by assisting someone who requires help. By functioning as a productive member of society, you better your own life as well as those around you. This is the result of 17 years of growth and experience in one individual’s life. As stated earlier, everyone has different beliefs, and they change often. The beliefs stated above may not even be important to me in a few years. Although one may never know what life’s true purpose really is, you’ll always have a personal group of beliefs and morals to refer back to when presented with life-altering events, and they’ll never fail you when you need them most.