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Six Ideas from Western Philosophy

Weeping Over Life

‘What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.’ - Seneca.

This dark remark gets to the heart of Stoicism, which says we get weepy and angry not only because our plans failed, but because we strongly expected them not to. Seneca th...

Peccatum Originale - Original Sin

St Augustine was deeply interested in finding explanations for the evident tragic disorder of the world.

Augustine contemplated the idea that human nature is inherently damaged because, in the Garden of Eden, Eve sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. ...

Being Less Intimidated By Powerful People

‘Kings and Philosophers shit, and so do ladies’. This is a blunt phrase of 16th-century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne.

He wanted to let us feel closer to and less intimidated by people whose life might seem very impressive. Montaigne attempted to free us from uncertainty ...

Our Inability To Be Alone

We should learn to become better friends with ourselves. ‘All our unhappiness comes from our inability to sit alone in our room.’

The 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal pointed out that instead of staying undistracted with ourselves - appreciating small...

Sub Specie Aeternitatis

Translated from Latin, 'under the aspect of eternity' is a phrase from philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

For Spinoza, philosophy teaches us to look at things, such as our own suffering and disappointment, as though we were looking from high down at the earth. From this high perspective,...

The Imperfections Of Our Human Nature

'Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.' - Immanuel Kant

Kant urged us to recognize that nothing that people do can ever be perfect because we are creatures of passion and erroneous instinct as well as reason and intelligence. Accepting our crooke...

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