Happiness can be a fleeting feeling, or it can be an ongoing emotion. It all comes down to how you approach the world and react to what you experience. In this video the idea of happiness is explored via the views of philosopher Bertrand Russell. Give the video a watch and reflect on how you think about happiness.
There is a trend in our culture to be proud of how busy one is – and this approach to busyness isn’t a good attitude. Instead, we should look to Søren Kierkegaard the Danish existentialist who advocates for reflection on what one is doing and not how much one is doing. This can be hard in a world in which people are prideful of not taking vacation time.
You can begin positive change in your life today – just take a few minutes and think about what really matters.
Stephen Evans, a philosophy professor at Baylor University, explains that Kierkegaard saw busyness as a means of distracting oneself from truly important questions, such as who you are and what life is for. Busy people “fill up their time, always find things to do,” but they have no principle guiding their life. “Everything is important but nothing is important,” he adds.
Without answering crucial and terrifying questions about life, without deciding on a unified purpose, Kierkegaard believed that one could not develop a self. He called those with without one unified purpose “double minded,” and argued that this mindset causes busyness.
Studying philosophy has greatly influenced my life and I encourage everybody to also study the field and practice. Engaging in philosophy can improve one’s sense of self while improving their ability to discern which arguments have value.
Teaching critical inquiry through philosophy to children can have a very positive impact on them as human beings. We should have every kid engage in philosophy in their schools because kids are want to know about all aspects of what’s around them. That is what philosophy is about at its core.
Since then, training in various jobs has made me into various kinds of professional, but no training has shaped my humanity as deeply as philosophy has. No other discipline has inspired such wonder about the world, or furnished me with thinking tools so universally applicable to the puzzles that confront us as human beings.
By setting children on a path of philosophical enquiry early in life, we could offer them irreplaceable gifts: an awareness of life’s moral, aesthetic and political dimensions; the capacity to articulate thoughts clearly and evaluate them honestly; and the confidence to exercise independent judgement and self-correction. What’s more, an early introduction to philosophical dialogue would foster a greater respect for diversity and a deeper empathy for the experiences of others, as well as a crucial understanding of how to use reason to resolve disagreements.
It’s not often that you hear CEOs and other executives call for philosophers to be among their boards. In a recent Financial Times article, there is an argument that businesses need philosophers. People who are trained philosophers tend to look root causes and issues that impact whatever it is that they are looking at – something any company should be doing.
The added benefit of having a philosopher in the board room is that their presence can bring a more holistic sense to the company’s (and owners’) place in the world.
Asked to analyse a business, a philosopher would typically start by asking what its deep purpose was: that is, what its eudaimonic promise to its customers was made up of. Then he or she would look at how well the company was living up to the promise, before suggesting new products, services or brand messages that would align it more closely with its implicit promises.
Letting the odd philosopher into a business is not an indulgence. It would help management think more deeply about what a business should properly be trying to do with the customer’s life in order to improve it. There is (fortunately) no enduring conflict between understanding the psyche and making some money.
80,000 Hours is a student run organization at Oxford University that helps people find a job or career in something that makes the world better. This is great for so many obvious reasons – but the one I love the most is that it shows how philosophy can be applied in your life everyday.
Do you want to spend 8 (or more) hours a day just earning a couple dollars when you can get paid to make the planet, people, and the world better?
According to the organization’s view of ethics-as-impact, a do-gooder job only “does good” insofar as you are better at it than the person who would have filled the job otherwise. “This is the replaceability factor,” says MacAskill. “The difference between you and the person who would have been in your shoes.” If you’re fully replaceable, you are, quite literally, not making a difference.