Timeless Wisdom for Now
Practical philosophy to guide us through challenging times
The urgent issues facing humanity in 2021 require solutions on multiple levels: the transcendental and the personal, the individual and collective, the vast and the precise.
How do we coexist in harmony and create a better world? How do we protect the planet and look after ourselves? How do we work towards individual happiness and togetherness?
Philosophy has the power to illuminate, inspire, and offer solutions, all of which adam dhalla demonstrates in “The Right Philosophy for Our Times.”
The Right Philosophy for Our Times
How Transcendentalism can revitalize our society’s love for the environment
Evoking the “crisp autumn air” of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond, Dhalla explores the nuances of transcendentalism, painting a vivid picture that brings the movement to life.
Dhalla asserts that a “modern reincarnation of this very philosophy can serve as an antidote to nearly all the major maladies of present-day society.” It’s a bold claim, but one with merit.
By emphasizing transcendentalism’s tenets of self-reliance and reverence for nature, Dhalla offers a concise and practical solution for societal crises like mental health and climate change.
Though self-reliance doesn’t appear an obvious remedy to loneliness and individualism, Dhalla tweaks the 19th-century movement to create a modern, more inclusive, approach:
“The new individualist isn’t openly isolationist or scornful of society, but strives to be comfortable by herself, and to be present with herself, without distractions. This novel individualism above all promotes the capability to be independent, an ability to deal with problems by yourself if you must, and at times, to overcome the overwhelming pressure to give up.”
Rather than reject society or become apathetic, Dhalla highlights how transcendentalism pioneer Ralph Waldo Emerson’s intentional solitude can increase the desire to improve the world. Quieting the day-to-day noise and connecting with ourselves and the sublimity of nature creates clear thinking and an emotional bond with the environment around us.
Solitude has been forced upon most of us during the Covid pandemic, but when the light at the end of the tunnel is here, and social options fight for space on the calendar, transcendentalism offers a number of reasons to consider adding conscious alone-time to busy schedules.
I was impressed by Dhalla’s ability to bring together a number of weighty ideas, while exemplifying the practical use of philosophy for current issues. All the more so given that the author is 15. It’s not for everyone, and no single philosophy or approach is the definitive answer, but Dhalla makes a strong case that’ll resonate with readers the world over.
So read, enjoy… and don’t be surprised if you find yourself compelled to walk in nature, breathe in the crisp fresh air, and waltz in the realm of the sublime.