The Entrepreneur Philosopher

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This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship – the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” 

 Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles

Thales

The more I read about Thales of Miletus, the more I believe that he was the ancient version of the Renaissance man.  Philosophy is a thinking exercise that usually involves a considerable amount of time. Most of the population of any age or society are involved in making a living and putting food on the table.  Thales of Miletus, possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, cleverly dealt with the issue of time and money.  It seems he made a fortune investing in oil-presses before a heavy olive crop harvest. All of which suggests that to be a philosopher and scientist in Ancient Greece, 7th century BCE, business skills are a notable asset.

Thales significance as a philosopher centers on methodology.  He was the first thinker who tried to find common, underlying principles to account for the natural world, rather than relying on the whims of anthropomorphic gods.  He sought to give a naturalistic explanation of observable phenomena that still has relevance in modern scientific exploration.  Thales believed that the mind of the world is god, that god is intermingled in all things, a viewpoint that would shortly emerge simultaneously in a number of world religions.

Thales lived in the past, yet his thought process made him universal.  He would thrive in any age.

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think” 
Socrates

The Philosophy Narratives

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“Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.”
Albert Camus

 The Beginning

The other day, someone asked me, “What is your philosophy of life?”

We talk about philosophy as if it were something that could be summarized in one or two sentences.  And yet, it generally takes a lifetime to identify with the reality. It is more than a thought, a response or a single activity.  It is our entire worldview, our personal system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.

The “philosophy question” has been in the back of my mind over the past couple of weeks, especially as I was researching the ancient scientists.  It seems that their philosophy was the precursor to their scientific investigations.

Philosophical discussions rarely have neat and tidy outcomes because the business of philosophy is to challenge prevailing assumptions and concepts in order to generate new perspectives on complex problems.  This week will focus on beginnings.  That is the only place that will give us the genesis of this worthy conversation that has spanned the history of humanity.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” 
 Plato