Berkeley High School (BHS) freshman Calder Underwood has found purpose in philosophy. He has begun to develop his own personal ideology in order to find deeper meaning in his everyday existence.
“It’s not the main pursuit of my life, but it’s definitely an important thing that I think about,” Underwood said. “[Without a philosophy or consideration for philosophy]… you’re just moving along with no real impact or reflection.”
Underwood discussed what he thinks of personal philosophies. “Your philosophies are a reflection of [your individual] actions,” he explained.
Underwood prefers personal philosophies over social ones because he feels they are more impactful on a day-to-day basis. When asked what particular philosophies he subscribes to, Underwood said, “I’ve been reading a lot of Tolstoy recently, and one thing that Tolstoy talks about often is this idea of determinism.”
Underwood explained that some interpret determinism to be the idea that individuals can only have control over their actions and can’t “steer” or influence massive bodies. Thus, individual actions have little to no bearing on anything else. “Of course, if you hurt someone, that does a lot of harm, but I very much respect the idea that massive world events are not determined by individual human will. … I just think the world is going to happen the way it happens, and it happens that way because of millions of people’s actions.”
When asked why he holds these beliefs, Underwood answered, “I guess I believe in them for the same reason anyone believes in a philosophy, which is moral reflection. … To me, that means meditating on how your actions have affected others or how they haven’t affected the world.”