First, perhaps, we should throw everything out. The world is different than at the time of Lao Tze, Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Aquinas, Kant, or even James or other famous philosophers of the last century. My life does not resemble theirs in any reasonable way.
Sure, they were people just like me and the seven billion others alive today, the billions who lived in the past. Same bodies, same brains, same _ well exactly what else is the same as anyone a hundred or more years ago?
And this is a key to the main problem. How can philosophical concepts or tools be applied to anyone of any time in any condition? Should there even exist such tools?
The past is of little use because _ face it _ the past was ignorant and crude. Trying to mine the “wisdom of the ancients” is like trying to understand thunder by collating every legend of thunder that ever occurred to anyone.
Given that, is trying to understand philosophy a lost cause, impossible? Is it in fact too amorphous to conceptualize? It certainly often negates logic.