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Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry

Man’s Underlying Ability – Stephanie

There once was a wealthy merchant who gained a life of riches through risk-taking, inquiry and wisdom.  Though a successful individual, he never exuded arrogance, rather, he enjoyed giving opportunities to the people around him.  After years of trials, failures, and successes, the merchant decided to put his business aside and travel the world to widen his knowledge.  He called his three most reliable servants and entrusted them each with a talent (a weight of a precious metal such as gold).  The first servant immediately researched on the best ways to invest his share and discussed with other professionals.  He was a man of curiosity, insight, exploration, and proactive – to him there were no limits.  Through his careful observation, he decided upon diversification of investment in a variety of assets and concluded with a workable plan.  The first servant placed part of the talent in oil investment and stock markets; the rest, he created a new product called “Megacrop”.  This invention allows countries heavily damaged by catastrophes to have longer lasting food sources.  Requests flooded in as word of this great product spread fire around the world.  Even with such satisfying results, the first servant continued to seek ways to broaden his future.  The second servant was witty and insightful, but he lacked curiosity and questioning.  In a similar way to the first servant, he invested his talent in the bank and stock markets.  With luck, he gained five times more.  The third servant, however, was the complete opposite of the first two servants: he was lazy, senseless, and unmotivated.  Without much thought, the third one went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it.  After a while, the master of those servants came and settled his accounts with them.  The first servant came out and said, “Sir, you entrusted me with a talent. See, I have gained 10 times more.”  His master answered, “Well done, good servant!  You shall be rewarded with much more than what you have now.  Enter into the joy of your master.”  Then the second servant came out and said, “Sir, with your talent I have gained five times more.”  His master answered, “Well done, good servant!  Open your mind to the world, and you will gain much more.  Enter into the joy of your master.”  Then the third servant came and said, “Sir, there was not enough rain and the harvest was poor, I thought about placing the talent in the bank but there may have been thieves along the way, thus I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.”  But his master answered, “You lazy servant, always making excuses!  Why didn’t you deposit my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest!”

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In this story, the master is like God – who created and bestowed the world with boundless resources, wealth, and knowledge.  The talent is the wisdom gifted to all human beings.  The three servants represent the different characters of humankind, where one is full of curiosity, intelligence, and determination; the second being witty but with less inquisitiveness; and the last one being stubborn, lazy, and ignorant.  God has given humankind with wisdom and a world of mysteries for us to question.  But how we apply our wisdom all comes down to us: to reach out and grab as much knowledge as we can or whether we bury it in the ground.  Philosophy is an unlimited desire.  Even though we might not be able to seek out all the answers to our questions in our lifetime, we have started off something for the next generations to discover and question.  Like the first servant, he was able to experience the rewards of his questioning.  If we never crave for questions and answers, how will we understand the fulfillment the process and result will bring?  This world is full of inquiries waiting for the right people to discover, explore, and philosophize.  What will your philosophy be?

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