Read another response by Peter Smith
Philosophy is well known for its inquisitive, critical nature. Naturally, we as philosophers strive to see clearly the basis of common beliefs, while rejecting prejudices and stereotypes that are without justifiable foundation. Now this all sounds fine, if we were diving into some debates or books. But, the common way of life outside is wrought with statements and beliefs that are at best grounded in some transient trends or local culture. Take, for example, when we engage in social interactions (perhaps in a college student's perspective). People are seen swayed by their emotions, possessed by gossips, some wearing extreme makeups and perfume, some drenched in alcohol, making horrid comments on someone the moment without his presence, blurting their prejudices and misconceptions, and so on. Of course, these are very narrow generalizations, yet I am convinced one cannot easily deny that these make up a big part of people's social lives today. As I study through various philosophers and their thoughts, I became increasingly agitated, eager to avoid all 'superficial' social relationships. But that, in turn, takes toll on my life because, let's face it, life is tough without company. No one to praise your effort, share your sorrow. No one to explore new possibilities with (you might say that a real philosopher needs none of this.). If I consider myself to be with some philosophic disposition, I cannot say for sure if that is, if not the major, the sole cause of anti-socialism or solitary lifestyle. However, if philosophy is really about exercising one's reason and becoming inquisitive and critical, can philosophers ever be in harmony with an active social lifestyle without making everyone their enemy? Or, do philosophers put up with shallow social interactions because they are necessary for other ends? Your points of view are much appreciated.