Three Comparative Philosophies on Life

September 6, 2017 OTHER

Jeremy Bishop photo



Hazel Speed


There are three ‘comparative philosophies’ on the journey that is ours throughout life.

I wish to consider each in turn in order to provoke you, the reader, into assessing which standpoint best reflects your perspective on the issues and choices.

Let us consider each philosophical aspect in turn.

The first two are based on popular expressions which no doubt are derivatives of legitimate philosophical heritages.



Philosophy Number One


It’s not where we start, but where we finish.


This refers to our birth circumstances, environments, limitations on our goals and dreams.  There is at least one song on this theme.

From a positive interpretation, it encourages a person who may have been born into a poor environment (whether with reference to poverty, good or bad family life, limited education, none at all), and perhaps a criminal record became part of someone’s life somewhere along the line.

This first comparative philosophy is really trying to affirm that we should strive to cling to the hope that, despite things being against us, it can all turn around and by the end of one’s life, matters may redeem themselves and an individual can be proud of their ‘good life’ final chapter – whatever age they depart this life.

The contrary view on this would quote opposite examples, whereby someone, perhaps born into a wealthy or privileged family (hence the term being born with a ‘silver spoon’ in their mouth), may turn bad, and no doubt we can recall such incidents, such as those which made the headlines in the news.

Often, an individual finds the responsibility of continuing their heritage and its lifestyle secure, marrying to sire a legitimate heir, too much of a commitment, or it could be an unwanted existence for them, either preferring a career far removed, or just wanting free of this kind of burden.

Of course, a similar scenario would apply in all walks of life.

Sometimes a vicar’s offspring wants nothing to do with religion and can actually turn to crime or drugs, yet someone considered to already be in that latter category can suddenly see the error of their ways, transgress moral and illegal sins, and become an ardent church-goer as a totally reformed person.

Once again, this is just an example, and other ones are possible.  It must not be discounted, of course, that the outline above could also be through the intervention of God.



Now we come to the second ‘Comparative Philosophy’


It is the journey we have through life that counts, not the destination.


I once knew someone who quoted this to me about the life of herself and her husband.  They are both now deceased, sadly, but for the sake of their family, I do not wish to specify anything that would identify them.

That is not because they did anything wrong, quite the contrary, as they achieved a lifelong mission of sorts with one key endeavour, and not only did they have a wonderfully fulfilling life themselves, but they facilitated the same for those they employed, and who shared in the same dream/project.  In fact their influence for good touched everyone they met, like a ripple effect of a stone skimming water.  Even writing this about them brings me great joy as memories are renewed.  Everyone loved them.

I have to admit, however, they were privileged to have sufficient funds to commence their dream, albeit they had to borrow funds thereafter. The wife actually did dream a location setting before she fell upon it in reality.

I grew most fond of this lady and her Husband and also was privileged to be friendly with a few of her family.  I shed a tear when I received the news of her death, and also that of her Husband who had died a few years before his Wife.

They were strong influences upon me, and we had wonderful discussions, and uplifting correspondence. Inherent personal philosophies enabled their required strengths, talents, and love to shine through and touch all whom they encountered.

The wife told me their most happiest and fulfilling times were when they were struggling against the odds, so that when they did actually achieve their ultimate goal, though they were relieved, it was somewhat of an anti-climax.

The counter argument to the above outline may be that the journey for some may not be happy or fulfilling, and a lot would depend on individual circumstances, also people in our lives.  What if, for instance, the couple referred to above, hadn’t had enough money to commence their dream or never found the location?  Not everyone finds the road they dream and pray about, and for those of us who may believe in destiny, that can also have a bearing on things, in that our heart’s desire may not be the planned route for us, but someone else.

We each have a purpose for our lives, but for Christians, (and I include myself therein), God is the one with the blue print.

I am sure one reason I am still here, is that God knows if I ever make it to Heaven, that I will have so many issues I would like to discuss with Him, that the aggravation would be too much for God, so my Creator thinks that I am better off remaining here right now (said with respect, but God understands the truth of that as, after all, He created me).



The Third ‘Comparative Philosophy’


Rather than either of the other two comparative philosophies I wish to include one of my own now.


What about ‘quality’ of our lives – surely that determines fulfilment of the soul at least, whether or not we ever have money, good preferred career, nice house, etc.

Joy and happiness, for instance, are usually (but not necessarily on every occasion) experienced at separate times, and not always recognised immediately. We refer to a ‘joyous moment’ for instance, then ‘the happiest times of our life’.

Other times we may be given a present that brings us joy and happiness combined, but happiness is the ‘metaphorical wrapping paper’ of the gift, i.e. when we subsequently look at the gift in the future it may bring renewed joy each time, but happiness is not considered in the same way as it was when the gift was received and unwrapped.

When I review my own life, it is one bizarre string of esoteric and eclectic happenings in a circuitous route, peppered with all kinds of good and bad things.  Most people have yin and yang in their lives but sadly some have too many bad things to contend with and/or surmount if they can.

Those who know my life story, or may think they do, have one view of things, others the opposite.  Nobody knows another person totally, only the perspective they can have of an individual as they enter or leave their life.  Only God knows the whole being.

Unique to older age quite often is to realise the overall reasons for the previously apparent ridiculous road map of one’s life, suddenly it all makes sense, albeit that it may not have been directed ‘as the crow flies’, probably because the bus in question had to pick up, or drop off, metaphorical suburban passengers, who either had to play a role, or be influenced by another, thus impacting on their lives for a particular reason.

Despite having had some incredible privileges, (and no, I was not born into a wealthy family), I have had some sorrows in life not of my choosing, so despite moments of joy and a number of years here and there which I recall being happy ones, (and my Parents were good, loving people whom I miss dreadfully but their example truly influenced me to aspire to their wondrous fragrance of true Christianity); the most fulfilling time and years of my life were the ones when I had the privilege of being the principal carer to my late Mother (my Father having died unexpectedly years earlier).  Apart for a few years, I lived with them both, out of personal choice, as they were my best friends.

Thinking of how to bring joy and happiness to my Mother who, in her final years was confined to a wheelchair, following a medical blunder, then she became bedridden, was a huge responsibility to ensure I gave her the best care that I could, but with the help of support carer(s) for an hour or two each day, I soon realised the following facts that were self-apparent.

In providing my ‘Best Friend’, my Mother, with practical, emotional and spiritual support, doing so from my heart and out of my deep love for her, I, in turn, experienced true happiness and fulfilment in a way which none of my own life experiences can ever match.  This despite the fact I was quite ill myself and once or twice we were both in hospital at the same time.

These years were, I felt, so significant, my true belief then, and now, was that if I was born only to serve in this one commitment, then I remain glad I was born.  The same would apply if my Father had not died suddenly and had required care.  I love them both more than my own life, and that in itself is quite a tribute to their influence upon me.

Being a carer can often be a school of learning integral thereto, as we willingly, with love, put others first.  We know what it is like to make countless emergency runs via ambulance to hospitals day and night, plus all the challenges involved. We know more about medications than some medics and travel two or three times a day to visit loved ones when they are in hospital.

Indirectly we give all types of support but receive it back again ourselves.  Such routines become our life, and we thrive when we are able to make someone who is so ill, smile and laugh at a joke, or a funny item we take to show them.  We learn how to use psychology which will aid another, and they, in turn, do the same for us.

We are preparing ourselves for the worst, when death eventually separates us from the person we love, someone we would willingly give up our own lives for if it meant they did not have to die.

Many of us pray that God will take us too at the same time, but there is an unknown reason why that only happens for some.

Medical science attributes that phenomenon to the effect on a person’s heart when they are given the news that their loved one has died, because of shock which some systems cannot facilitate.


So when I consider the three comparative philosophies, although there is something to be said for choices one and two, from my own personal experiences, I think the ‘quality’ of our life journey is the key to true happiness and fulfilment, our service to others whenever we are needed.  It doesn’t just mean in the role of being a carer.

If we are a carer, it has to be done with a true loving altruistic heart, but the rewards are superior to anything else I know.  The privilege of being a carer is a singular wondrous gift we are given and it affords great insight.

Carers are somehow enabled to cope with a variety of tasks and responsibilities which in other circumstances may not be possible, but with a heart driven by the fuel of love, carers inexplicably seem to have the physical, mental and emotional ability that equates to tales of superman or superwoman.  We all have heard of true accounts where a woman (or man) has lifted the entire weight of a car on their own in order to rescue their trapped child from underneath following a car collision.  Only love (through God) can facilitate that.  Imagine a world which runs only on the power of love, not hate.

So for me, being a Carer touched my spirit through its special ‘quality’.  I am sure such unique quality is present via other situations and circumstances as well.

I merely give this account of the joy and happiness regarding the years I was privileged to care for my sweet and wonderful Mother, in order to share with readers what I mean when quantifying the importance of ‘quality’ as a comparative philosophy.

The counter argument may be cynicism of one sort or another, but to paraphrase a famous quote, in retort to any doubters:

You had to be there!





Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

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