The way of the world is this:
Two philosophers stood ankle-deep at a beach, disputing & discerning. They were on the verge of a great synthesis when an unexpected wave knocked them over, dragging them across the bottom, filling their mouths with foam and tossing them back up on the sand.
When they were done coughing, they found they had forgotten their realization.
During dinner my wife paused and stared at her plate. I asked why. She said “I was just looking at the Rice-a-Roni and thinking about the vastness of the universe.”
(That’s why I love her, folks.)
And she’s right. If we yap on about how the stuff of humans is forged in stars, we must note that all the higher elements are forged in stars, and so likewise the stuff of toads, viruses, dog turds, heroin, fruit bats, and, naturally, Rice-a-roni. There are billions of stars for every human being; humans are much more precious than stars. The occultists were right: the macroverse is mirrored in the microverse. Just not quite how they expected.
What do you when you come to the conclusion that, while your life is fine, the world is deeply sick, but your life exists as part of that world?
The sage, states both religion & philosophy, disdains worldly pleasures and honors.
But is it that the sage, having proven they can attain worldly pleasures and honors, is disdaining them? Or is it that the sage is really a schmuck turning up their nose at what they could never have in the first place?
I love Marcus Aurelius, really I do. But it’s easy to talk about how the emperor and the beggar arrive at the same end when you’re the one who gets to be emperor.
A revealing question to ask is: are those who think deeply and thoughtfully about life happier, richer, or in any consistent way more successful in life?
Philosophy is the search for wisdom. If you take philosophers as a group, can you discern any advantage they take from their wisdom? Searching across the whole of them, can you find any consistent wisdom at all?
The world is a procrustean bed, and we find ourselves fitted to it. In the end, we shall all be judged by forces far out of our opinion or control, whether active (God, gods or dharma) or passive (an ironclad materialism).
Addendum to the predicate: No matter what the ultimate Truth of the universe, the vast majority of people are wrong. Considering how fragmented is human opinion, with no religion or philosophy having even a strong plurality, most people must be following what would, given some moment of ultimate reckoning, be shown as a wrong path.