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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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