What a great question. I think we hit upon this a month or two back, but not quite in this direction. I'd love to offer my thoughts on the issue as it's come up with me more than once.
What is the argument you obtain normally when you ask someone why isn't he or she (*) interested in philosophy? In my case, I've been answered most times that it is useless.
[INDENT]Yea, I've heard a lot of this too. Dad used to say, "Well... it don't pay the bills" and I think that pretty much typifies how most people view it. Its my view that when most people think about philosophy, what comes to mind are lofty metaphysical issues; whimsical dreamers with their heads in the clouds
. Of course, this contention ignores the every-day utility of Ethics as well as how knowledge can be increased with a good understanding if Epistemology.
Would any kind of philosophy be of any use to someone who is completely satisfied about his way of living? ... What are you looking for?
[INDENT]Interesting notion. I think you have a point, in that there are a good number of philosophy buffs who ARE looking for something. But from where I sit, this would only account for just a few
. Philosophy doesn't quickly dispense many black-and-white. The answers are out there, but they usually don't come wrapped very neatly. As far as your second question; for those who ARE looking for something, what that might be
is as numerous as there are people.
[/INDENT]But if I understand your line of questioning, it comes down to "why do people get into this stuff?". Below I've tried to capture some of the more popular mindsets that I think puts certain people on the philosophical path:[INDENT]The concepts of "insight" and "knowledge" turns them on
: And when I say it's a 'turn-on', I mean mentally. I can only speak for myself - of course - but I see this a lot in philosophy-buffs. Their eyes light up when they've figured something out, seen a pattern in views or behaviors or come up with a theory that could explain "X". This is a simple idea - the prospect of getting the big-picture is a mind-tickler - that we understand our lives and existence, not just live it. Then of course, they want to share it.
[/INDENT][INDENT]Many philosophers believe they have something important to say, ".. folks need to hear this!
": And when this hits, it feels like a moral imperative! Sure, figuring out "how you know what you think you know" won't feed the cat or win you the lottery, but in the philosopher's mind it feels important! You'll find people doing this kind of thing every day: In forums like this, talking with a friend over drinks or while fishing.
[/INDENT][INDENT]The philosopher who wants to understand the 'why' of our existence
. It's not enough to just "be", there's a mindset that asks "why?!" or "how?". Humans are a funny species; much like ants, we generally scurry rather mindlessly. For some folks this isn't enough; they stop and say "woah! Who are we? Why are we doing this?". Questions like that stick in the back of our heads and we want to understand it. Where did we come from? Where are we going? What are we? It's not enough to just
[/INDENT][INDENT]The Gift of Gab
: This motivation towards philosophy is a bit on the esoteric side, but I hope you'll bear with me. In most cases, whether because they like to preach ideas or get into others' heads, there are a lot who just LOVE interracting with other people towards the end of: How do others feel on this? Am I alone? Am I right or wrong? Inexorably, this person's focus is on communication and sharing; a sort of low-grade mental intimacy. Yes, there are a ton of philosophically-minded people who just read and write (to exercise this hobby), but I think most are social animals. Philosophical inquiry - for a good number of us - needs to involve more than just 1.
Do you think mankind will evolve towards a philosophical way of understanding?
[INDENT] No, not really. I think the vast mental, emotional and experiencial differences between people precludes this every happening. I also think that'd take all the fun out of it
[/INDENT]In trying to answer your question for myself, I tried to think back to what specific inspirations/experiences did I have that put me into this area. For me, it started with an old book of Bertrand Russel's that dad gave me - it sat on a dusty bookshelf for a long time. Then, for no particular reason, I picked it up and read some. I realized, very quickly, that reading the ideas, thoughts and theories on life was fun! Its like a buffet-line you can walk down: You say "yea, that looks good, I'll buy off on that" to one item while others you say, "yuck, that's horrible!"
. Over time, what you always believed (or how you always felt) becomes clarified and a small slice of "existence's pie" comes into view. I tore through a number of books this way. Later, the whole god-question came into view and I went on a rampage of many theology-texts. Finally (and what finally condemned me to this path) was talking some of these issues face-to-face with other of this mindset.
When the brain grasps something it didn't, or picks up a new idea never previously-considered, there's a charge of understanding that, for me, is truly inspiring. This, I believe, is what many refer to the slow - and never ending - process of becoming enlightened.
I hope this helps, or at least wasn't completely useless to the intent of your question. And I'll thank you for your indulgence in my effusive answer.
 Ironically enough, he ended up getting his PhD in Philosophy: Logic and taught for many years at various colleges (so yea, he DID actually pay the bills with it).