Summary of “Pythagoras on the Purpose of Life and the Meaning of Wisdom – Brain Pickings”

The Greek polymath Pythagoras ignited the golden age of mathematics with the development of numerical logic and the discovery of his namesake theorem of geometry, which furnished the world’s first foothold toward the notion of scientific proof and has been etched into the mind of every schoolchild in the millennia since.
Alongside his revolutionary science, Pythagoras coined the word philosopher to describe himself as a “Lover of wisdom” – a love the subject of which he encapsulated in a short, insightful meditation on the uses of philosophy in human life.
According to the anecdote, recounted by Cicero four centuries later, Pythagoras attended the Olympic Games of 518 BC with Prince Leon, the esteemed ruler of Phlius.
The Prince, impressed with his guest’s wide and cross-disciplinary range of knowledge, asked Pythagoras why he lived as a “Philosopher” rather than an expert in any one of the classical arts.
Life may well be compared with these public Games for in the vast crowd assembled here some are attracted by the acquisition of gain, others are led on by the hopes and ambitions of fame and glory.
Some are influenced by the love of wealth while others are blindly led on by the mad fever for power and domination, but the finest type of man gives himself up to discovering the meaning and purpose of life itself.
This is the man I call a philosopher for although no man is completely wise in all respects, he can love wisdom as the key to nature’s secrets.
Complement with Alain de Botton on how philosophy undoes our unwisdom, then revisit other abiding mediations on the meaning and purpose of life from Epictetus, Toni Morrison, Walt Whitman, Richard Feynman, Rosa Parks, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Martha Nussbaum.

The orginal article.