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While it is a temptation (and a natural assumption) to think of a philosopher as some sort of academic historian—someone in a toga, or European 17th or 18th century clothes—someone whose lofty multilanguage abstractions penetrate our “reason for being” or “the nature of existence” or such abstractions, a philosopher is anyone who “seeks wisdom.” When an armed service member completes his or her service, there is virtually always a period of adjustment that includes squaring the new experiences—in cultures different his native culture, and in a situation that drastically juggles one’s priorities and values (not only the different view of taking a life, but such values as individual responsibility vs. taking orders from authorities without questioning or second-guessing them, etc.)—with the cultural values he/she grew up with. Manichean (either-or) thinking that taught us right and wrong, safety vs. risk, etc. has to be abandoned and replaced with “gray thinking” in which the dualities once taken for granted are replaced by gradation, by a range (one to ten) of judgment, etc. All that adjustment is philosophy. A marine returning home should be given weeks or months of time to “think through” the changes in his/her view of life.
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