Similarities between philosophy and journalism


I’m going to highlight some topics that really grasp my interest during the course on “The personalistic philosophy” I just took in Trumau (Vienna). My special recognition and thanks to our mexican Professor Rodrigo Guerra López, managing director of (CISAV) Centro Social de Investigación Avanzada. Rodrigo believes what he preaches, transmits his passion through his words and made ​​the hard-themed course very attractive.

I want to point out that this is not a philosophical paper, but rather an essay from a journalist who loves thinking and talking about these subjects that help me understand reality and the world we live in.  From that point of view, we can say that journalism is similar to philosophy.

1. First, we can affirm this as long as they both try to search the truth, maybe journalism not a metaphysical approach, but in a realistic way, looking what happens in reality, getting to know as much data and information as we can. This may be considered as common characteristic with the rest of sciences as well, the seeking of truth.

2. The second clear similarity between the two sciences is that they researches come from our own perspective. Saying this doesn’t mean there is no objective true or reality, but that we cannot afford it all completely, as reality is always rich and we are limited. Some science are based in mathematics or physics, are easy to demonstrate, since they are based on countable issues. But facts and reality always have different readings and interpretations, you cannot measure easily. As long as we are subjects, human beings, we have already our own limitations and our own perspective. Even in a chronological description of facts and events, we focus to describe certain facts, and no others, and they are already chosen from our subjective point of view. So the challenge in both philosophy and journalism studies is to try to look at reality with an open heart and mind, in order to be able to read reality in a higher level of interpretation.

3. There is a third similarity between the two sciences, and it is that they can affect us directly, they can have an influence in our own way of life or work. To look for the truth and to talk about it can have uncomfortable consequences, but also the recognition and appreciation of many.

So summarizing the similarities between philosophy and journalism, we might say that they both look for the truth and look into reality with an open mind, in order to get a high level of knowledge. That said, we must know that telling the truth may have some effects in our lives, rather good or bad.

We can be more precise, and maybe not very orthodox and profound, but there are also some similarities between the phenomenology philosophy followed by Karol Wojtyla and the journalism itself. This method was founded by the German philosopher Husserl in late XIX century, and can be considered the most important movement in XX century. Heidegger, Sartre and Sheller are some of the philosopher that followed this method, which means to be back to reality, to the things themselves. These similarities from phenomenology with journalism are:

1. They both come from the description of reality, from the observation and the detailed information of data.

2. In order to reach reality, we need to open our mind. This means we have to put into brackets our own convictions, so that we can understand better what it happens around us.

Getting back to the beginning, there are some topics I’d like to stress.

The always difficult relationship between faith and reason. As Ratzinger said, and as a disciple from Karol Wojtila, “there is no contradiction, but a dialogue between reason and faith”. As we studied, every single science is based in reason. We are trying to reach truth with our minds, from an objective point of view, even though we are human with an objective perspective.

In some ways I value his effort to make a dialogue about it, trying to build bridges between the two ways. Therefore, I think that the greatness of faith is precisely that it cannot be reduced to our minds, that goes beyond human reason. In this way, there is no dialogue but an act of trust in someone’s words, an act of faith. We believe thing that we don’t see, that are not tangible. And sometimes we feel them even more real than things we can explain with our words.

Another aspect that I want to put into words, and hopefully become an argument for these days is the historical divorce between reason and love, heart and mind. Most of the methods for science are rational thinking, based exclusively in reason. I found this method valid, but not complete. Every man, every woman, have reason and love, both together, sometimes in different levels, but we cannot leave our heart apart when we are studying, because they are not separate things, they both come together and belong to us. This would be like reading a book with only one eye. We are not surely going to watch something wrong, but with both ayes we’d get a different perspective, a wider view. So, rational thinking is a valid way to reach the true, since we have to use our reason, but sometimes it leaves apart something as important as feelings, so we are missing something or studying science with an important lack, making this artificial dichotomy.

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