Somewhere in class 2, 3 or 4 1, I remember a moment when one of my teachers said the following on the question of who is a philosopher?2

A person who thinks why something happens.

Then comes the moment of magic. He moved a wooden ruler from one place to another and said:

A philosopher will think why this moved.

My first reaction was of intrigue. What does that mean? To think. I am pretty sure I didn't follow the train of thought personally since I was too young to focus on things for long, but I preserved the moment in memory somehow. And this moment keeps coming back to me every few years reminding how very insightful that demonstration of displaced ruler was. There are layers and layers to its understanding and, most importantly, you can clearly see that these are there to be pealed off.

Of course the definition is too restrictive considering all the fundamental questions philosophy attempts to answer but this was a beautifully insightful act, free from a very simplistic physical-processes viewpoint that was used for all other professions in that class.



Indian Education system. I remember the school and context this was set in. Possibly class 3 but keeping a margin of error.


I am sure no one from the students asked this. It was mostly a class on various professions and what they mean, things like 'butcher', 'carpenter' etc.