Your Worldview As It Relates to Philosophy

Published 23 Oct 2017

Philosophy is the art of understanding the world. A large number of outstanding philosophers and trends are caused by the multifaceted character of any worldview; as a result, studying philosophy frequently causes irreversible changes to the traditionally held views of students. Professional tutors are constantly interested in the effects their lectures create on students; this is why I will try to identify how philosophy has changed my own worldview and whether I suppose these changes to be positive.

Having been raised in a common family, surrounded by traditions of Catholic faith, I have traditionally kept to the thought that Catholic faith had almost been perfect to me; moreover, on witnessing the growing popularity of Catholicism around the world, and watching the majority of my friends and their parents preferring to live in Catholic style, I didn’t even think that any other religious or non-religious philosophy would become prevalent in my life. Having started the course of philosophy, and becoming familiar with the works devoted to the topic of Vedanta philosophy, I have come to conclusion that to some extent Catholicism is overwhelmed with the rules. These rules often seem too strict and bounding. Moreover, many Catholic provisions seem too difficult to be understood not only by common adherents; scholarly researches still lack relevant explanations to what Trinity is and how the relations within this religious structure should be interpreted (Malkovsky 24). I was gradually coming to the thought, that Catholic religion could not be understood properly. In the desire to be ‘close to Christ’, many people perform Catholic rituals without understanding their real essence. Simultaneously, Catholic religion proclaims that ‘understanding the deposit of faith in Christ is essential. It proclaims the truth of the reality of Christ as Incarnate God’. (Sarma 129)

Another significant point in Catholicism, which I have only noticed due to studying philosophy, is the fact that Christ has to save us, and we have to be saved by Christ. This makes Catholic adherents feel inferior to some higher forces, always requiring the assistance of God. In addition, a popular tool to confirm one’s weakness in protect oneself, one’s dignity, and in fighting for one’s own place under the sun, can easily be justified by the fact of God being unfavorable to these changes (Malkovsky 25). The complexity of Catholic religion and faith, its contradictions and misunderstandings are rarely noticed by its religious adherents. What is even more concerning, is that choosing a different philosophy in our society is frequently judged as a negative step, though the freedom of choosing religion, philosophy, interests, etc. is legally protected.

On becoming familiar with these philosophic conflicts, I have come to the conclusion that there should be another philosophy, simpler and more understandable, suggesting more freedom and making the human being responsible for his actions. Vedanta philosophy has appeared to serve this role for me. As soon as I have become deeply interested in this philosophic trend, its provisions have revealed the transparent and easily understandable model of the world to me. Despite the fact that the difference between Vedanta and Catholicism is dramatic, I didn’t experience any difficulties in trying to understand Vedanta’s essence. What has attracted me was simplicity; what has changed me was human empowerment and support of the human inner force.

First of all, I have learned to be more patient to other religions and views. Vedanta teaches that all views deserve attention and have the right to exist; all Gods are valid and have the right to be respected. (Deutsch 33) The respect to other religions is crucial; studying Vedanta philosophy I have learned what means to be criticized for adhering to a different (often judged as wrong) philosophy or religion. Another aspect making Vedanta attractive is in providing the human with the opportunity to learn ‘the higher truth, the absolute truth’. (Sarma 91) Catholic philosophy implies human limitedness in the desire to understand and perceive the knowledge of phenomena, which are usually related to as ‘metaphysical’. God is seen as the embodiment of this higher knowledge, and not a single human being is capable of possessing and using this knowledge for his sake. Any attempt to claim the discovery of new meanings in Catholic philosophy is traditionally denied or negatively judged. On the contrary, the inferiority of humans is eliminated in Vedanta;

‘For want of the right understanding about his real nature, man remains deluded and considers himself limited, unhappy, miserable and beset with innumerable problems. Vedanta shows the way to eradicate these problems once and for all and enables man to attain the highest spiritual enlightenment, peace, happiness and freedom’. (Sarma 65)

Knowing and understanding oneself, in combination with perceiving the essence of absolute truth is supposed to be the highest knowledge in Vedanta, thus seeming absolutely available and achievable for a common adherent. Vedanta has made me not only patient towards others – it has made me responsible for my actions. Despite the Vedanta’s idea that ‘human destiny is governed by law of cause and effect’, (Malkovsky 28) I have been truly surprised to view Vedanta supporting self-effort. This philosophy has supplied me with understanding that I am fully empowered to creating my destiny, and though Absolute Consciousness is a powerful force, it cannot be blamed for the failures I may experience in my life. Some of these failures are surely the consequence of others’ actions, for which I can only be partially responsible, but the majority of events taking place in my life ultimately have their causes in my own perceptions, suggestions, ideas and actions. Vedanta has led me to the assumption that I should deeply analyze each event (positive, and especially, negative).

The results of this analysis were initially very surprising to me, but I have concluded that this analysis is crucial for learning my own mistakes in order not to repeat them in future. As Vedanta assumes space being indivisible and pure, (Sarma 132) with us being the creators of space barriers, the similar knowledge can be applied to our lives: we are the ones to create barriers on our ways to the happier and more stable future.

Philosophy of Vedanta has served the philosophy of achievement for me. My worldview has changed from being inferior and dependent on God’s will to being capable of achieving the highest knowledge and the respectful position in the society. I don’t judge those who adhere to traditional Christian religions, but I suppose they should acquire more strength to strive for their goals. Being religious is good, but philosophy of catholic religion does not provide its adherents with hope at least, that they will be able to perceive the deeper knowledge.

Such philosophic position initially puts limits on the space within which a person can strive for something and achieve something. Vedanta philosophy is the philosophy of achievement, and understanding it has made me a person of strivings.

Philosophy is the science which represents a wide range of ideas and interpretations of the world in which we live. It is a large space of theories and suggestions, and everyone can find the trend and concept which suits his (her) personal characteristics. It opens the gateways to new understanding of the old meanings; it is the effective instrument of clarifying the traditional issues we face daily. Philosophy is rarely controversial; it can serve the storage of opposite ideas, but these ideas will always find their place within the philosophic environment. On stating that ‘I have changed my worldview’ I would probably be wrong. It would be proper to state that philosophy has changed my worldview. I evaluate these changes as absolutely positive – viewing the world as the array of opportunities to be used is positively different from justifying failures through the traditional provisions of Catholic philosophy.

Works cited

  • Deutsch, E. Advaita Vedanta: A Philosophical Reconstruction. University of Hawaii Press, 1973.
  • Malkovsky, B. ‘Advaita Vedanta and Christian Faith’. Journal of Ecumenical Studies 33 (1999): 23-28.
  • Sarma, D. Epistemologies and the Limitations of Philosophical Inquiry: Doctrine in Madhva Vedanta. RoutledgeCourzon, 2004.
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