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Philosophy and modern life?

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JAK

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:10 PM
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I have only watched the first two in this series but it does seem that it may be of interest to some relating philosophical ideas from ages past to the environment we inhabit today.


The following is a six part documentary presented by Alain De Botton titled Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness.


Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1969 and now lives in London.

He is a writer of essayistic books, which refer both to his own experiences and ideas- and those of artists, philosophers and thinkers. It's a style of writing that has been termed a 'philosophy of everyday life.'

His first book, Essays in Love [titled On Love in the US], minutely analysed the process of falling in and out of love. The style of the book was unusual, because it mixed elements of a novel together with reflections and analyses normally found in a piece of non-fiction. It's a book of which many readers are still fondest. View Full CV.


A summary of the entire series can be found here.


This six part series on philosophy is presented by popular British philosopher Alain de Botton, featuring six thinkers who have influenced history, and their ideas about the pursuit of the happy life.

Episode 1: Socrates on Self-Confidence - Why do so many people go along with the crowd and fail to stand up for what they truly believe? Partly because they are too easily swayed by other people's opinions and partly because they don't know when to have confidence in their own.

Episode 2: Epicurus on Happiness - British philosopher Alain De Botton discusses the personal implications of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270BCE) who was no epicurean glutton or wanton consumerist,but an advocate of "friends, freedom and thought" as the path to happiness.

Episode 3: Seneca on Anger - Roman philosopher Lucious Annaeus Seneca (4BCE-65CE), the most famous and popular philosopher of his day, took the subject of anger seriously enough to dedicate a whole book to the subject. Seneca refused to see anger as an irrational outburst over which we have no control. Instead he saw it as a philosophical problem and amenable to treatment by philosophical argument. He thought anger arose from certain rationally held ideas about the world, and the problem with these ideas is that they are far too optimistic. Certain things are a predictable feature of life, and to get angry about them is to have unrealistic expectations.

Episode 4: Montaigne on Self-Esteem looks at the problem of self-esteem from the perspective of Michel de Montaigne (16th Century), the French philosopher who singled out three main reasons for feeling bad about oneself - sexual inadequecy, failure to live up to social norms, and intellectual inferiority - and then offered practical solutions for overcoming them.

Episode 5: Schopenhauer on Love - Alain De Botton surveys the 19th Century German thinker Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) who believed that love was the most important thing in life because of its powerful impulse towards 'the will-to-life'.

Episode 6: Nietzsche on Hardship - British philosopher Alain De Botton explores Friedrich Nietzsche's (1844-1900) dictum that any worthwhile achievements in life come from the experience of overcoming hardship. For him, any existence that is too comfortable is worthless, as are the twin refugees of drink or religion.


As I say I've only watched the first two so far. Each programme is 24 minutes in length and fingers crossed we can learn something from each one so here are all six.


Socrates on Self-Confidence:


Google Video Link




Epicurus on Happiness:


Google Video Link




Seneca on Anger:


Google Video Link




Montaigne on Self-Esteem:


Google Video Link




Schopenhauer on Love:


Google Video Link




Nietzsche on Hardship:


Google Video Link





Jak




posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:16 PM
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For some reason I burst out laughing at the title Nietzsche on Hardship, but I honestly don't know why.

Thanks for these, JAK. I'm going to give them a watch now.

Good yesterday, fellow observer.



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:56 PM
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Applied Philosophy indeed, more than just sitting around talking in circles.

Especially interesting is how thousands of years ago everything we know with "modern" thought and "modern" psychology and "modern" self-help was already apparent.


JAK

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 04:03 PM
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Absolutely Skyfloating. So perfectly relevant for today's massively consumer centric society is the second programme (which prompted me to make the opening post) when it references Epicurus' thoughts on happiness which points to the comparative emptiness of material goods when considered against the love of friends and family.

Jak

[edit on 17/6/08 by JAK]


JAK

posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 05:46 AM
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The Montaigne segment seems rather blunt but then it appears that is a quality most appreciated, if not an essential part of his writings. When watching the second programme I this might well be the most relevant. Then, when watching the third I wondered if I wasn't mistaken before and thought the same again. When watching episode 4 on Montaigne though I wondered this again. He, he. I really do believe this worth viewing though.

After initially contemplating how we view ourselves and the prejudice we may view our own attributes with being influenced to the extent we become unhappy with, not only aspects we can work on, but also those which we cannot exert control over (the naturally given attributes) it then extends that thought, those prejudices, to how we perceive and so are led to act and react to the external world in a manner that upon objective consideration may not be in the best interests of anyone.

An answer suggested was to travel. To view, experience and contemplate the how and why qualities so particular to each culture could be so apparently different yet deemed as important and acceptable or even desirable simply due to cultural perspectives.

I understand that this could be regarded as 'old news' but it did offer an interesting angle. Of travel it was said (and I did like the way this was put)


It’s not that travel just broadens your mind, rather it enables you to see how narrow your oppressor’s minds are.

and, on a personal note, remembering that the subject at the heart of all the programmes offered here is ‘Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness’ and in reference to the idea of ‘self esteem’ addressed in this episode, it is poignant to consider that through our own preconceived notions, culturally nurtured thoughts or beliefs which we cannot be blamed for inheriting but that may lead to unreasonable judgement and / or dissatisfaction with any aspect of ourselves, we can be counted amongst our 'oppressors'.

Jak



posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 05:54 AM
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thank you for bringing these videos to light. I'm going to be bold here and suggest that everyone watch these.

Introspective videos like these are hard to find. Mostly because there is no market for it.




posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 06:59 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Applied Philosophy indeed, more than just sitting around talking in circles.

Especially interesting is how thousands of years ago everything we know with "modern" thought and "modern" psychology and "modern" self-help was already apparent.


Yes, historical distance can tend to make the philosophers of old seem obsolete and irrelevant -- not true! I haven't read Montaigne, but just from the description, I wonder how much of his work was introspective, rather than studying humanity in general.


I guess we all draw from personal experience or the times in which we live, to give significance to the meaning thereof, and find importance therein.

Along those lines, I really liked the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Often rambling and disconnected, but a great blend of colloquial personal narrative, practical example, and timeless philosophical examination.





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