Philosophy plays an essential role in every civilization. Today the diversity of civilizations and the closely related need for worldwide dialogue have become more and more prevalent. It is good that these issues are being addressed in Indonesia, where various civilizations and philosophical trends are encountered.
To talk about the role of philosophy in general does not mean to deny differences among philosophies. Indonesian philosophy has existed and developed not only through the affirmation of its national identity but also through the expansion of exchange with the world in order to acquire positive values from other nations. Only the recognition of diversity and respect for the specificity of various philosophies can help us to agree on the contribution made by philosophy to the life of humankind today.
Philosophy, however, is not a special God-given gift to some countries or territories to help them become the various civilizations of humankind. Every philosophy has been born out of interaction between humans and specifically natural, economic and social features of their environment. Acculturation is a needed for the development of every civilization. But an acculturation process will be successful only if a nation is able to preserve and promote its national identity while acquiring the values of other civilizations.
In general, philosophy is a science that seeks to investigate the nature of things. The characteristics of philosophy can be termed as a radical, comprehensive and integral thinking. Definitely, philosophy is a way of thinking that explores its object fundamentally.
Since its emergence in Greece, and in following the rapid development of science, philosophy is well known as The Mother of Science. Philosophy is an estuary for sciences, including for the positivistic sciences, such as science of communication and information technology that has just appeared in the era of advanced science and technology today. Thus, as being compared to other sciences, philosophy is an intellectual activity that has methodical and systematic approach. In capturing the essential meaning of everything, we use philosophy as a tool of reflective thinking.
The philosophical system of Indonesian people as being known widely as Pancasila can be defined as a critical and rational reflection about Indonesian state and nation’s cultural reality in order to get the main points of the fundamental and comprehensive understanding of Pancasila. In the other words, Pancasila is defined as a philosophy because it was a result of deep reflection of Indonesian founding fathers that poured it in a system.
The general understanding of Pancasila is a form of Indonesian deepest thinking about their self and then it is considered, trusted and believed as fact, norms and correct, fair, judicious, and best values suited to the life and personality of the Indonesian nation.
Soekarno later developed the philosophy of Pancasila from 1955 until his rule ended in 1965. At that time Soekarno always maintained that the original philosophy of Indonesia is Pancasila. The values of Pancasila were taken from the culture and traditions of Indonesia, as well as an acculturation of Indian (Hindu-Buddhist), Western (Christian), and Arabic (Islam). According to Soeharto, Pancasila philosophy has undergone in the process of Indonesianization. All original precepts of Pancasila is lifted from the Indonesian culture and subsequently translated into more detail of Pancasila grains.
The philosophy of Pancasila can be classified as a practical philosophy. This means the philosophy of Pancasila contains not only fundamental thinking, but it is used to guide the way of life (Weltanschauung) of Indonesian people. By using Pancasila as a way of life, Indonesian people can achieve their spiritual and physical happiness, both in this world and in the Hereafter.
 Lorens Bagus, Dictionary of Philosophy (Jakarta: PT. Gramedia, 1996), p. 21.
Ruslan Abdul Gani, Pancasila and Reformation, National Seminar Paper, KAGAMA (Yogyakarta: KAGAMA, 1998), 8 July 1998.
H. Burhanuddin Salam, Pancasilaism Philosophy (Jakarta: Rineka Cipta, 1988), pp. 23-24.
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