Thursday, 9 February 2017

Career Opportunities in Philosophy

Can you believe that I've stopped telling people in India that I did MA in Philosophy (Occidental Philosophy, to be precise) because it invariably elicits a condescending reaction from them? That I did it from Cambridge University and stood first-class-first makes no difference to their inveterate perceptions about philosophy as a subject that gets no job/s and offers no career opportunities. There's a widespread notion among Indians that philosophy as a subject is absolutely useless and its practitioners live in ivory towers, engrossed in intangible ideas and day-dreaming. Indian parents and even teachers don't encourage students to opt for philosophy because they think that it has no future and zero job prospects. To them, all philosophers are indolent lotus-eaters. This is a fallacious belief which needs a violent jolt.


 Agreed, in today's competitive world, a subject ought to have a market viability and a job-friendly edge because we tend to judge a person on the basis of his/her job and the social standing ensued from that job. From that perspective, ordinary and conventional minds find philosophy a purely speculative subject that doesn't enable a student to find a suitable job that spells worldly happiness!


Philosophy is the essence of knowledge. It's the kernel of life that broadens the vision and deepens the perceptions. Philosophy encourages critical and systematic inquiry into fundamental questions of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, the meaning of life, and the nature of reality, knowledge and society. More than any other discipline, philosophy explores the core issues of the Western/Eastern intellectual traditions. Philosophy encourages the student to formulate questions and follow arguments. One learns how to think, not what to think. It (philosophy) breaks all set patterns and opens new doors and windows that lead to overall enhancement of a person's persona. 

There's a certain aura about philosophy that distinguishes it from other (banal) subjects. Contrary to the general belief that it's all about god, morality, good/bad, armchair discussions, diatribes and meaningless debates, philosophy is a systematic discipline that arms the students with a sense of fulfillment on all scores, counts and planes.

Neurologically it's been found that philosophy develops left-brained (logical) thinking. The modern neuro-biologists like the celebrated atheist Richard Dawkins, CM Grindley, Mark Fraser, among others have concluded that the study of philosophy hones brain's analytical powers and activates glial cells, responsible for the out of the box thinking. Philosophy facilitates weird thinking and also streamlines it. In sum, philosophy paves the way for altogether new ways of thinking.  

How many Indian parents and their ignorant wards are aware that world-renowned Indian companies like ITC, Calcutta, Shaw Wallace, Coffee and cardamom boards, Nilgiri Tea, Indian Tea Association and many other corporate names prefer graduates and post graduates in Philosophy for their HR departments? Since philosophy students have greater understanding of human psychology and resources, they get an edge over others. Philosophy being central to humanities, all arts subjects are actually its offshoots. Literature and social sciences come out of the womb of philosophy. 


HR departments worldwide pick up philosophy students for their holistic and comprehensive outlook. Students of philosophy tend to look at all the possible aspects of a problem or issue. Now many elite international as well as national magazines (especially for women) like Vogue, Happy Home, Style Quotient, et al  appoint philosophy graduates as agony aunts and marriage/relationship counselors. These magazine specifically mention that philosophy graduates/post graduates will get preference over other candidates because of their all-inclusive approach to any subject. A philosophy student deals remarkably well with the whole gamut of human emotions. Philosophically trained people have been found to be great marital escorts (new phrase for marriage counselors) because of their natural quality to be emotionally more empathy-driven and sensitive.

Finally, in this age of implacable hatred and bloodshed, isn't philosophy the most desirable discipline for the refinement of humane qualities embedded in all of us but temporarily lost because of sheer materialism?



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