There is a growing realization amongst philosophers that Philosophy and Life at the present day are somehow divorced from one another and the main drift of late has been in the director of drifting way from one another. We have known at this end of India that Universities even and Governments have been giving left-handed treatment of Philosophical studies. It is said that ‘Philosophy has divorced man from life’s pursuits and has depleted the vitality and energy of individuals from the promotion of human welfare’. This attitude has not a little to do with the anti-intellectualist bias of political theories and also philosophies of the Bergsonian school. In the name of realism there has been an attempt going along to put down the study of philosophy. That Philosophy has not made for the betterment of the state or country, and that it has acted as a lure to mere word-quibbling and slovenliness of action is a criticism that has been made through out the past few years with a constancy and perseverance that even philosophers believe that there is much truth in that criticism, and the weak amongst us have already succumbed to this slogan. What is wrong with Philosophy that it should have shrunk to this measure of contempt, repression and ridicule? In what has it failed? It is up to Philosophers to discover the underlying causes of this great and pathetic fall.
We have Philosophers anxious undoubtedly to contribute to world-thought, but who have somehow contrived to get it into their heads the notion that it must be a restatement of past philosophies. This is important, for whilst a restatement of Philosophy in terms of ancient thought to which all the people have accustomed for centuries has the initial advantage of appeal, it need not because of that turn out to be truth. All the same, the failure of Philosophy to encourage an indigenous and fundamentally agreeable doctrine to the mass of people will lead to its own debacle. The failure of Modern Philosophy in India has been not a little due to the strangeness of the doctrines and to the novelty of the contents, however much comparative religion and philosophy might seek to discover correlations. Thus Indian Philosophy has to go to its own ancient roots if it has to succeed at the present time, and yet it does not succeed. The reason is the failure that it has registered in the course of life of Man in our country. Thus a paradoxical situation has arisen. “By the fruits shall a tree be judged”.
Thus we find that Philosophy if it has to be loyal to the cultural situation cannot but refer to its own ancestry. And if it did, it will only meet with the disaster that will overtake it despite this incidence of alien cultures and ideas. The position is one of unrelieved gloom. Just as it is with political renaissance and resurgence, so it becomes imperative that there should happen an incarnation of an adequate genius to the new situation, who would synthesise in himself both the ancient and the eternal, and the temporal and the present.
We would have to state our problems of Philosophy with sincerity and clarity. What are the problems of Philosophy and what relevancy have they to the immediate and remote problems of life? Philosophy aims at a world-view, and unless this world view taken in the abstract and the most universal eternal manner it cannot be adequately representative of the truth. But then this world-view need not be the welterchanuung, a life-view. Unless they synchronize, or unless the one follows logically from the other, there is only a remote chance of philosophy governing the life and conduct of people. It is true that without intelligence and planning, life must find its end sooner or later. Either we plan our civilization or we shall perish. But this planning must proceed from the most adequate view of reality and influence the relationships so that they could be ordered logically and successfully. A Philosophy that does not aim at bringing about a synthetic view or organic view of the entire factors of the world, which does not guide us in conduct and which engages itself in querulous and garrulous discussions as to the most unimportant aspects of reality courts an early demise. The fact is that without a logical system of ordered thought, no action can successfully be performed, but whether this logical ordering can be called truth is a different matter. For we can, as Bertrand Russell claimed, have logical groupings of facts or fictions as many in number as we will, but none of them need be truth, that is, none of them need be the most exact and correct logical theory of Reality. The political theories of Marx and Hitler are logical theories put into practice with ruthlessness and consistency, but they are not because of their expediency or efficacy as such truth. Indeed the psychological factors which Hitler has put into execution with remarkable success show that we can by constant and consistent effort condition a people in their thought and behaviour so as to make it impossible for them to think otherwise or see otherwise. This is the psychological influence of Philosophy on Life. The world is mostly governed by these pageantry of thought and behaviour, because they are conditioned by these for a considerable time, intensely and uniformly and consistently.
But this effective doctrine of conditioned reflex, despite its utility, is not at any rate what a philosopher really bent upon knowing the real constitution of the world can permit himself to exploit or to submit to. The doctrines of realism and idealism have had changing fortunes but they have not ceased to take interest in the specific problems of how we know and what we know and how we know and what we know. The nature of mind, the nature of matter, the nature of relations, the nature of the content of knowledge, the knowing, the positive evidence of growth and progress, the end of man and his life, the rules governing his moral life and social life and religious life, all these fall into the purview of Philosophy. All these have to proceed from the ideal conception of their relationships or integral unity of these relations, so as to yield deductions as to conduct. The truth about the Kantian theory lies in the postulate of the need for deduction from apriori synthetic Judgments of the three kinds, according as they fall within the Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgment. This is because the Reality from which all activity, of cognitive, conative or moral and religious life and aesthetic enjoyment proceed from the Unity of it. This Unity is important, for without this world-view of Philosophy or true view, that does not undergo deformation in consequence of temporal conditioning, because it is uniquely implied in the structure and nature of the Integral Truth-view, there can possibly be no activity, no progress.
The application of the Integral eye-piece, so to speak, to the problems of the immediate situation is what is demanded from us in our moral life as well as in our social and political existence. The idea of a fluxional system of change without consistency, of chance that cannot be explained in any manner except through the cry of ignorance, the non-mathematical view so to call this, is utterly un-satisfactory and cannot be a profitable role for Philosophy. Indeed if Philosophy undertook this role it would be acting as a fifth-columnist. Romanticism in Philosophy, Utilitarianism in ethics, and mysticism in psychology are all such efforts which make Philosophy discreditable. Philosophy cannot and must not forsake the realm of rationalism, and logical unity, but this unity of logical understanding must be forced to undertake the effort of deducing all facts from the nature of the totality of life and being. Can Philosophy ever gain this force of pure Existence on the plane of life that surges with emotions? Is it not a far cry to seek to govern all life from the basis of this abstract life and being? Life and vitality are not seen to flow from this abstraction.