In ancient times, there were philosophers like Socrates who went to people on the streets and asked them questions on happiness, ethics, love etc. Socrates could have just discussed all these things with the elite but he believed that each human being had the capacity to think and Philosophy, for him, was not just for intellectuals who discussed it over a cup of tea. Philosophy guides everything that we do, the choices we make and the way we treat the people in our lives. In ancient times, philosophers like Plato and Seneca wrote on various topics like human beings and their relationship with society, self-esteem, etc but today most self-help books and fanatic religious groups have killed people’s interest in self-improvement and their passion to know the meaning of life. Unfortunately, Philosophy is considered a ‘dead’ subject’ now.
If your education doesn’t give you the tools to handle stress and challenges, then it is really useless. Schools and colleges are now introducing ‘life skills’ but we seriously need a culture where philosophers are respected. I think it was Plato (or was it Aristotle?) who said that philosophers should be given more power than kings in a society because the right kind of philosophers are not hungry for power. They use their equanimity to keep power in check and keep the society stable and peaceful. At the heart of obsession with celebrities, art, sports lies a desire to find a guide who will help us find solutions to issues that bother us. Hence, we need philosophers more than ever.