What’s Your Philosophy – Pragmatic Existentialist

    Long ago, in the midst of my midlife crisis at the age of 25, I went back to school to become a secondary education major.  That didn't work out, but one of the required courses was Philosophy of Education.  We studied the major philosophers as they related to learning and teaching.  Let me say up front that I am not a big fan of Plato or Socrates.
    I completed the course having defined myself as a pragmatic existentialist.  The following link offers a nice overview of Pragmatism:  http://www.character-education.us/pragma.htm  Basically, I believe there is no ultimate truth, only what works.  In my own words, I believe you can only be expected to make the best choice under a given set of circumstance.  That choice may be the wrong one if the circumstances change and may not be the same one someone else would make.
    Existentialism is the philosophy of freedom and personal responsibility.  Nobody else is controlling your actions.  You are free to choose … or not to choose, but taking no action is itself a choice.  We are at the center of our own existence (yes, God is dead)  … and responsible for it.  The following link supplies a nice overview of Existentialism:  http://typeandmeaning.com/existentialism-in-education/
    Subscribing to these philosophies and loving logic as I do, my hardest struggle is being compassionate and tolerant of those who disclaim responsibility for their actions and the results of their own choices.  If you do nothing to change the circumstances you complain about, you will alienate me rather quickly.  You absolutely cannot control the world and everyone around you, but you can control your own actions and reactions.  This also makes addictions and bad habits seem less tolerable.  On the other hand, I know personally how easy it is to fall into old patterns and to take the path of least resistance.
    In the end, my struggle is not to judge the choices other people make and still take responsibility for my own.

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