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9 Philosophies That Will Change The Way You Look At Life

9 Philosophies That Will Change The Way You Look At Life

Philosophy is often viewed as pointless to study in these modern times, due to the fact that a philosophy major is unlikely to lead to a secure and prosperous career. But many of our great philosophers were the front-runners of science. In fact, in many ways, modern science is built on the concept of empiricism, the philosophic idea that sensory information is the only true basis for knowledge. These following 7 philosophies will help change the way you view the world.

Solipsism

Solipsism revolves around the idea that there is nothing you can confirm except your own existence. If you think about the brain’s capacity for hallucination, and just good ol’ dreaming, it’s not that hard to imagine outside manipulation being possible as well. For all we know, we COULD be stuck in the Matrix, or maybe you’re the only person that exists and the entire world and your experience of it is just an illusion.

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Idealism (Philosophy)

The philosophy of idealism has nothing to do with being idealistic. It has nothing to do with ideals, but rather ideas. It revolves around the thought that reality is fundamentally something that exists on a mental level. Kant once defined idealism as “the assertion that we can never be certain whether all of our putative outer experience is not mere imagining.”

Phenomenalism

Is the idea that nothing can be said to exist beyond the observation of the thing itself. So for example, you could not argue that the stone exists, only that your sense of it exists. You could say: “I saw a stone.” but not: “The stone was there.” The only thing that one is able to confirm is the sensory data of the stone, but not the stone’s existence independent of your own.

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Presentism

The idea that only the present exists, and that both the past and future do not. A Buddhist scholar named Fyodor Shcherbatskoy said the following: “Everything past is unreal, everything future is unreal, everything imagined, absent, mental . . . is unreal. . . . Ultimately real is only the present moment of physical efficiency.” The belief that our way of experiencing time is it’s true and only nature. So for a presentist the idea of time travel is ridiculous, as there exists no destination to travel to, where other philosophies and theories might suggest otherwise.

Eternalism

Contrary to presentism, eternalism is the belief that all moments in time, past, present and future are equally real. Some eternalists believe that because of the nature of time, in this case that time exists as a whole, not in separate parts, the existing future already exists in a set and final manner, and therefore we are only capable of experiencing the future, not able to change it in any way, which one could interpret as the existence of fate. Modern scientific theories seemingly support the eternalism over presentism, but with our ever-developing understanding of the universe, who knows if that will change or not in the near future.

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Nihilism

The most well-known form of nihilism, existential nihilism is focused on the assertion that life has no inherent purpose, goal, or intrinsic value. (Intrinsic value is the idea of something having value in and of itself.) Simplified, it’s the belief that life is utterly pointless. The difference between nihilism and hedonism is that pleasure, or joy, is seen as worthless as well, and therefore is often characterized as leading to a feeling of despair. Some modern interpretations of existential nihilism conclude that precisely because your life has no intrinsic value, goals or purpose, there is reason to make the most of it in your own way.

Hedonism

Hedonism is centered around the belief that pleasure is the only thing that has intrinsic value. Basically, a hedonist makes pleasure the ultimate goal of any and all of his actions and choices in life. Hedonism is perhaps the philosophy that is closest to our original instincts, in that it embraces the response of pleasure to things like eating and fornicating wholeheartedly. Instead of bringing morals into the picture, it focuses on feasting on pleasure, a sensory response that probably played a vital part in our survival as a species.

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Stoicism

Unlike what seems to be popular belief, stoicism is not about faking not having an emotional response, or becoming completely emotionless. It is a philosophy that focuses on training yourself to improve through training and conditioning. From everything to your outlook on life, to knowledge and perhaps especially minimizing your negative emotional responses. Stoics believe that emotions like anger, sadness and frustration are based in your own, fixable faults rather than justified responses to outside influences. So a stoic sage would not respond to provocation because of it’s inherently unproductive nature.

Skepticism

One could perhaps argue that skepticism is the basis for all other philosophies. Because if we didn’t question, if we didn’t ask, then where would the answers be? But philosophical skepticism, unlike methodical skepticism, does not focus on questioning individual statements to validate or invalidate; rather, it questions if there is a possibility for a certainty in any knowledge. And given the constant changes in our understanding of the universe and even what’s directly in front of us, it might not be as “overly skeptical” as you might think. Skeptics often question the validity of other philosophies, as well as the current value system or the implied value of things in society. You could say that a philosophical skeptic would protest the validity of supplied evidence no matter its apparent validity, while a methodical skeptic would eventually accept something as valid after a certain threshold is reached. As a skeptic it’s important to pick your battles, if you were to vocally protest everything that was ever presented to you as fact, you would have time for nothing else.

While some of these philosophies seem like they’d have little impact on your life, through understanding different fundamental ideas and evaluating where you own ideals are met, you can discover a new compass to guide you through life.

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Ragnar Miljeteig

Ragnar is a passionate writer who blogs about personal development at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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