No matter where we are in our life, we are like the captain of a ship taking stock of the situation. We must take stock of the condition and the sailing qualities of our ship – (our talents and our energies). We must take stock of the elements and geography – (our environment and our opportunities). And of course we must take stock of where are we going – (our hopes and our goals).
So in philosophy we take stock: we must know our ship and the sea; we must know where we have been, where we are, and where we are going; we must know what to do in every kind of sea and weather. Of course, we cannot have experienced personally every condition, every contingency. Therefore philosophy is also about profiting from the wisdom and experience of other great captains. We can read their logs, look at the maps they made, and benefit from their trials and errors on our own voyage. And we can be inspired to sail closer to the wind, travel to goals we never thought possible or, most importantly, to continue our voyage when we were on the verge of losing hope. And that is a fine thing indeed.