The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

42 Critical Knowledge/Experience Qualifications of a Philosopher – Ancient or Modern

It is said that knowledge may be obtained through study, yet wisdom is attained through arduous and complete life. Beware of those who suggest they obtained wisdom from study.
For me, and maybe this is just for me and perhaps too stringent a general requirement; but there exist certain things which a philosopher needs to know. Knowledge and experience sets which prepare him or her to ask the right questions, understand the habits of men – along with the uncertain nature of our reality. The awareness to know, that there are things which we do not know that we do not know. Things which distinguish the sophist from the real philosopher.

In one of my projects overseas I encountered an odd set of circumstances wherein, a very large opposing country had taken issue with some of my work. Work which disfavored their plans for empire, limited effect mega-projects which enriched only their socialized corporations, population abuse, product dumping and mineral monopolization. The representatives of this nation had convinced some of the ministers in the minority of their host nation (my client) to sequester my passport at the Ministry of Emigration during its processing of my extended visa. Their intelligence agents had even invited themselves on short notice, to join me at breakfast one morning in my hotel; in order to make it clear that my interests might be interpreted as standing in opposition to what constituted their ‘compassionate goals’ for the country. “Please let us know if we can be of assistance in your strategic work Mr. TES. We are only here to help. Coincidentally, we are right in the rooms next door to yours.” Indeed, you have not studied anything but the national mineral base, the new mineral railway, key assays and NI 43-101 documents, yet you are here to help the people. I’m convinced, I really am.

The situation would have been Hollywood shtick-to-comique if not for the backdrop of a mile long strand of polio victims along with levels of abject poverty which most liberal Westerners do not even acknowledge exist. I was essentially stuck in the country, indeed the hotel, without my passport, indefinitely.  Subject to arrest at any moment, if the political winds blew in a slightly different direction. To me it was clear, continuing the cycle of abuse by empire nations, upon defacto colonies – this needed to end. I was a deeply experienced markets and trade strategist & implementer, head of my firm, backing some of the most successful brands and nations in the world. I could see what others could not. These victim nations were rife with mafia and crime; all justifying their existences through a promise of big projects a decade out, all of which never seemed to manifest – commensurate with the certainty of endless boxcar loads of mineral ores, riding on brand new rail systems employed solely to move them about, rolling to and out of the country’s ports. It was amazing how the formula repeated itself over and over again across this impoverished continent.

Population dumping had become a pastime for the rich elite of such third world proliferating hell holes. A game of dumping their unwanted on the West, whilst their ‘partner nation’, robbed them blind of their mineral wealth – through paying off the few mafia socialist warlords/ministers who instigated the population dumping at this Empire’s behest to begin with. Global domination brilliance which our Western university and government cubicle liberals fail to grasp, nor even know that they do not know.

In the end, our strategy of smaller modular power systems, a focus on education and training, a variety of local food and clean water infrastructure, healthcare, post harvest perishment and teen pregnancy mitigation – these elements turned out to be the right solution for that nation.  They did not need to dump all their mineral wealth into the hands of one Empire, as this price was neither ethical nor necessary – all for a promise of something monumental a full 9 years later. A magic beans project which had failed the last three times this region had attempted the same thing.

So as events warranted, by means of our best call on the situation, in the middle of the night I went with one of the tribal leaders – and broke into the Ministry of Emigration on a mission to retrieve my passport and quickly exit the country. This was not a matter in which a ‘sense of justice’ would suffice. Controlled mission anger – was useful. Take with a grain of salt, the pinings of those who cannot understand the difference. I starkly recall the night janitor pleading with me not to kill him as I came down the hallway in the wee hours. I paid him to let me into the passport vault. There I was able to ascertain the location of my passport and abscond with it in short order, for a 6 am flight to Johannesburg. I was gone before the corrupt ministers had even awaken. They are all now either in prison or out of power. Certain events unfolded thereafter, which proved our strategy to be the best course. A small victory won. A very pissed off Empire with hopefully a short, compartmentalized memory.

I had a brief discussion with a celebrity Stoic PhD Philosopher about this very issue of whether or not a ‘sense of justice’ was sufficient and comprehensive in underpinning what leads a person to undertake real world changing action. I contend that it takes more than simply a cocooned sense of justice to motivate a person to intercede on behalf of those oppressed.  We have tons of outraged and spoiled people carrying a loam of sense of justice and looking for a cause to anoint with it. To justify their pointless existence. Yet ironically a complete global lack of anyone motivated enough to stand up to the many malicious forces which oppress us. 

Yes, constructive anger is different – contrary to what Seneca contended – and has a proper place and form of expression inside our world reality. A sense of justice is simply and unequivocally not enough. A ‘sense of justice’ would not have been enough, for me to have made it through this harrowing event. This PhD lacked the life experience required to be an effective philosopher, and was rendered vulnerable to incomplete understandings, which were just simply wrong. Passed as common wisdom by philosophers, who do not really know; and more importantly do not know that they do not know.

But recollection of these events brought to my mind one evening, this very concept of strength of one’s philosophy and how it relates to their life exposure. It is simply not enough to get a PhD, grade papers and write books. I have expounded before on the Nine Features Which Make for Great Philosophy. So perhaps it is time to relate what I believe to be the qualifications for a great philosopher as well. I suppose that Seneca the Younger, father of the Stoicism movement, would be my best candidate – among all the academic and spoiled celebrities who posed as Mediterranean/Anatolian/Levant philosophical torch holders – for one who had earned their philosophical stripes, if you will.  Ironic perhaps since he was the seminal philosopher who decried the very role of anger which I outlined as being beneficial above. Seneca to his credit however, had at least been a tragedy playwright, Roman senate member and advisor to an Emperor.1 Qualifications which most philosophers of antiquity do not commonly hold. You will find in the About section of this blog, that I bear a dearth of respect for ancient and religious philosophers. Finding their ramblings shallow or moot in most cases. Teachings about how to argue about arguing or how the natural world proves god or proves a lack of god. Blase, lacking in human depth and life experience. Academic and cocooned pablum; bereft of scientific insight, discipline or even a grasp of the right questions to ask. A rhetoric about social ‘oughts & naughts’ regarding which they possessed meager qualification basis, save for discussions with academy peers and being recorded as having attending famous lectures. Sophistry if you will.

Don’t let someone who has done nothing, tell you how to do (nor how you did) anything.

    ~ Ejike Henry Akuneziri

The Philosopher’s Test

/philosophy : wisdom/ : it is said that knowledge may be obtained through study, yet wisdom is attained through arduous and complete life. Beware of those who suggest they obtained wisdom from study.

For me therefore, and this is just for me and perhaps too stringent a requirement, there exist certain things which a philosopher need know. Things which prepare him or her to ask the right questions, understand the nature of man – and the uncertain boundaries of our reality. Understand the weakness of self and that a degree really does not mean that much. The awareness to know, that there are things which we do not know that we do not know.  The following is my list of such qualifications/understandings/experiences. 42 of them to be exact, 42 things which have nothing to do with PhD’s, meditation, recitations of ancient or religious philosophers.

42 Critical Knowledge/Experience Qualifications of a Philosopher – Ancient or Modern

1.  Predictive strength of evolutionary phylogeny to DNA/Historical extent and influencing factors inside evolution

2.  Planck intervals, spacetime and boundary conditions

3.  Turing principle and nature of computation/been a cryptographer

4.  Expansive and extensive nature of our universe/Probable ubiquity of other life in universe

5.  Archaea/cyanobacter appearance timing and development

6.  DNA/RNA replication, stops, codons, transcripterase, conservation, expression

7.  3rd letter of the DNA codon codex boxing & protein progression

8.  Inflationary universe and time-space malleability/dimensionality

9.  LaPlace transformation calculus and higher mathematics

10.  Solar and post-solar mass gravitation/Chandrasekhar Limit

11.  Theories of special and general relativity

12.  Wealth of paleontological data

13.  Wealth of pre-Biblical archaeological and civilization data

14.  Managed a scientific lab or been on a team making a significant scientific discovery

15.  Extent of hominin lineages and overlap/progression with homo sapiens sapiens

16.  Quantum Entanglement: Spooky Action at a Distance/Observer Effect

17.  Have advised a head of state on what his/her nation should do & be held accountable for the results of that advisement

18.  The absence of evidence for a Worldwide flood

19.  Warfare/Faced death/Been shot at

20.  Have played an instrument, written, played and sang a real, complex and heartfelt song

21.  Have taught a class and had students remember you

22.  Lived in more than 1 or 2 countries

23.  Have grown a garden

24.  Have designed a super-large structure & then lived or operated in it

25.  Have designed, managed & been accountable for a process involving 1,000 people or more

26.  Have observed first hand, grand scale corruption in governance/power

27.  Sailed at least 3 oceans/survived in wilderness at least 3 days

28.  Been over 120 ft deep in the ocean

29.  Periodic table of the elements in detail/organic chemistry/metallurgy/exotic materials

30.  Binomial distribution, bounded distributions and theories of probability/arrival distributions

31.  Hypothesis testing theory/p-value amaurosis and risk/anti-fragile/tail theory

32.  Modeling, simulation and outcome theory

33.  Have started and run a business and failed

34.  Have started and run a business and succeeded

35.  Have had families and lives believing in and depending upon you

36.  Had someone they love die in their arms/Had your children severely injured or killed through social malice

37.  Have had a Near Death Experience/Seen a UFO

38.  Exhibited difference-making leadership under dire circumstances, while leading more than a handful of people

39.  Have overcome through their own research and discipline, a major health/threat to life issue or almost died

40.  Have put their life on the line for the innocent, and against an empire

41.  Volunteered for a homeless shelter/been homeless

42.  Have saved someone from dying

Perhaps these are not fair. Perhaps, nor should they be.

epoché vanguards gnosis

How to MLA cite this blog post => 2


  1. Braund, Susanna (2015), “Seneca Multiplex”, in Bartsch, Shadi; Schiesaro, Alessandro, The Cambridge Companion to Seneca, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 1107035058
  2. The Ethical Skeptic, “42 Critical Knowledge/Experience Qualifications of a Philosopher – Ancient or Modern” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 3 Jan 2018, Web;

January 3, 2018 - Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | ,

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Thomas Donlon
Thomas Donlon

A 15 year old I respect, started following/commenting on your blog. Therefore I’m struggling too to read through all this. To paraphrase you, (from the (ABOUT section) this blog is written at a very intellectual level, and it requires a lot of specialized knowledge to follow what you are saying. Please bear with me as I share some random thoughts. I thought of a few Biblical parallels to your writing. (I’m a Christian, who fully embraces science … and I’m probably as zealous or more so than you in opposing Young Earth Creationism, flood geology … and I’ve got little… Read more »

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