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This is the first week in our One Year, Six Ways challenge, in which we try to experience six different philosophies of life in our own, everyday lives. And we begin with Aristotle, one of the fathers of Western philosophy.

So how can we utilise Aristotle’s theories about happiness in our own, everyday lives? Read on.

Can I be too honest?

Aristotle’s view of life starts with the concept of virtues. Virtues are good properties of one’s character that are beneficial to oneself and to others. Think, for instance, of courage, honesty, or kindness.

But not any amount of these virtues is good. One can…


Is a simple life the key to happiness?

Cover image by L’odyssée Belle on Unsplash.

In her book “Epicurean Simplicity,” author and activist Stephanie Mills analyses what is wrong with our modern way of life — and she goes back to the philosophy of Epicurus to find a cure. Mills’ book is as beautiful and relaxing as it is inspiring — a passionate plea for a life well-lived, a life that is less wasteful and more meaningful.

What is the best human life available today?

The central question in any critique of modern life is: how can we live a better, less alienated, more satisfying, more valuable life in today’s world?

Stephanie Mills, an environmental activist and writer of books about the wonder…


Heraclitus and Epicurus on accepting change

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said that one cannot step into the same river twice. But what does this really mean? And what can we learn from this for our own lives?

It is the same Sun?

You may have heard the old adage that one cannot step into the same river twice. It’s normally attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (~535–475 BC), who also said something much fresher and more surprising: that we should think of the Sun as a new Sun every day, rather than the same old ball going down in the evenings and rising again the next day.

And…


Epicurus on trouble in the soul

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus emphasises that, in a world that works according to physical laws, nobody ought to be afraid of either the gods or one’s own death — for when death arrives, we will be gone. But is this a convincing argument?

“Everything in life has an end. Only a sausage has two,” goes an old German joke.

Our very own death, and that of everyone we’ve ever known, is one of the few things in life that are perfectly certain. And still, we manage to get up and out of bed every day, and to live our…


An even braver new world?

The last book of visionary writer Aldous Huxley (1894–1963), Island, is a bold attempt to envision a utopian society that provides its members with everything they need to achieve happiness in life. The author of Brave New World tried here to show a positive vision of how he thought that human beings should live and flourish — but the darkness is never far behind, even in this paradise.

Image by Fidelia Zheng on Unsplash.

Aldous Huxley and The Doors of Perception

Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) was a British writer and philosopher who wrote over fifty books during his lifetime, both novels and non-fiction. The most famous book of his is probably “Brave New World”…


Erich Fromm and Lin Yutang on cultural differences

By Daily Philosophy

Is there a difference between the way we perceive happiness and life in the West in comparison with “Eastern” cultures? Erich Fromm argues that the capitalist West is stuck in a “mode of having,” searching for life satisfaction in the possession of things; while the “Eastern” view or life (in his example, a Japanese poem) is more oriented towards “being.” Chinese-American writer Lin Yutang (1895–1976) also thinks that there is a specifically “Chinese” way of being happy — but do they both mean the same?

Erich Fromm and Bhutan’s National Happiness

In a famous passage, discussed in a previous post, psychologist and philosopher…


Reluctant emperor of Rome, fighter and Stoic philosopher

Today we celebrate the birthday of Marcus Aurelius (121–180 AD), a man who always had wanted to be a scholar, but who was made emperor against his own wishes. He became one of the best emperors of Rome, and a widely-respected philosopher who still inspires us today with his sense of humility and duty.

Marcus Aurelius, reluctant Emperor of Rome

Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar (121–180 AD), or Marcus Aurelius in short, is still one of the most famous emperors of Rome and one of the best-known Stoic philosophers. …


April 25, 1953: Watson and Crick publish DNA double helix

The moment of the publication of the DNA double helix structure was, at the same time, the end of a long — and sometimes tragic — race, and the beginning of the age of DNA sequencing and genetic engineering; together with AI, one of the most promising and most dangerous technologies of our age.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

The book and the truth

In his book “The Double Helix,” James D. Watson, one of the two scientists who are mainly credited with the discovery, gives a funny, entertaining, sometimes breathtaking, and very memorable account of how he and his colleagues came up with the structure of the DNA molecule…


The long tradition of finding joy outside of consumerism

From Diogenes and Epicurus to Erich Fromm and modern minimalism activists, from ancient times to the present, there is a long tradition of philosophers suggesting that long-lasting happiness might be easier to achieve if we don’t primarily focus on material gains.

Welcome back to our discussion of Erich Fromm and his criticism of our capitalist world. In this series, where we try out six different ways of life over the space of a year, we already covered Aristotle in January and February, and have been discussing the German/American philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm throughout March. In the following months we…


Philosopher John Rawls on justice and privilege

How should the international community go about distributing a scarce resource like a vaccine? Philosopher John Rawls (1921–2002) formulated two principles of justice: The liberty principle and the fair equality of opportunity principle that we can use to guide our decisions.

This is the second part of a three part series on the ethics of vaccinations. If you missed the first part, it is here.

In the previous article in this three-part series, we talked about the ethics of vaccines, and particularly about whether the state has an obligation to care for our safety. If so, how far does this…

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