Philosophy Is The Love Of Wisdom, But What Is Love And What Is Wisdom?


Love is fundamentally gearing the mind towards appreciating and helping others, fellow souls, infants, births of intelligence and consciousness, the species, life…. And wisdom also means the same, in the end, the promotion of life. Thus philosophy can be viewed as the square of love, and the square of intelligence. In practice, deep down inside, love and intelligence are pretty much the same: they promote life. And life is happiness! I point this out, because most Twentieth Century philosophies with great impact have been in denial (Heideggerism/Nazism), or unappreciative (existentialism/absurdism), or exploitative (capitalism/Marxism) of life… Thus most dominant philosophies of the Twentieth Century have been fundamentally anti-philosophical, because fundamentally antagonistic, or alien, to love and wisdom. 

Indeed, searching for wisdom started with bacteria searching for sweets, billions of years ago. That was the birth of intelligence; it took billions of years thereafter to evolve brains. Wisdom is thus about finding how nature works and finding strategies to make it work in a more self-serving way, at the cost of increased logical complexity fighting the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Wisdom searches for how to become smarter at promoting life.

This search for ever more elaborated strategies is engineered by ever more sophisticated mental networks. What wisdom is originally for in particular excludes at its roots philosophies like Heidegger’s or Nazism, which defined being and time with a count down to death: such ideologies don’t promote life, but its exact opposite, death. Bacteria’s earliest form of intelligence searched for sweets, not death. Actually it also searches to avoid death.

Similarly, when Nietzsche claimed intelligence is all about concentrating the will in loving fate, amor fati, the eternal return of the same, this suffering soul, half blind and soon to go insane, misses the point that intelligence appeared to find sweets, and improve life. Now, of course, Nietzsche had to embrace fate, considering his dreadful diseases. Otherwise he would have had to embrace opium (if he could afford it) and death. Amor fati is often a good strategy

Intelligence didn’t appear for more of the same, but better strategies of the similar drive to make life tastier. Life is not an eternal return of the same, but an evolution towards ever smarter self-sustainability, and ever increased complexity (as Lamarck pointed out in 1800 CE).

Bacteria never imagined themselves as little Sisyphuses, always doing the same thing for no improvement, and no enjoyment. More sugar was an improvement, a very sustainable improvement, as it could be repeated all the time, activating reward circuitry indefinitively. Camus didn’t need to order bacteria to be happy. Nor do bacteria need Camus to go away from poison.

The roots of wisdom are very pragmatic, and intelligence makes models of nature to outsmart it by creating newer and in a sense better nature. 

Wisdom’s roots may not be noble: it is smart to acknowledge this… but the towering heights of complexity and subtlety they sustain are. And as those complications blow in the winds of contingency they reach beyond themselves where no nature was there before.

California Western Monarchs, migrating butterflies, in love… and how much wisdom do you need to migrate?

Patrice Ayme


2 Responses to “Philosophy Is The Love Of Wisdom, But What Is Love And What Is Wisdom?”

  1. Wilma Lafayette Says:

    I have never heard this definition for philosophy, but definitions (like most definitions of a particular language) are mostly accurate within a certain decade, era, age etc. This may be true of your definition; it sounds like a new perspective but it is not one I share. I am more of a SEARCH for Wisdom kind of person, or better a Search for MEANING to the human condition perspective. This definition seems to cover all Philosophies of which I am aware, but that’s just me.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      That’s entirely correct Wilma: the definition of “philosophy” has varied considerably in the last 27 centuries during which the term was used.

      And also, indeed, Wisdom entails an all seeing, all encompassing SEARCHING attitude. Because time and time again, in the last 5 million years, distant knowledge, from distant searches in the information space, has often proven most useful, and finished as part of human core survival culture. All and any data has meta data. All and any knowledge, even if certain (say falling out of the window will hurt) is connected to meta knowledge (why does this philosopher want to fall out of the window?)

      Searching for meaning a la Camus (say) is not a profitable exit. Meaning, for humans, is supposed to be given socially, and socially there is much to do, and now there should be more than ever social activites to engage in. That it is often not so is a political problem caused by the master class (enforced leisure festered in Rome… and caused its fall, in the end…).


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