Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness

Since the late 1990’s, Alain de Bot­ton has been break­ing down dif­fi­cult philo­soph­i­cal and lit­er­ary ideas and see­ing how they apply to peo­ple’s every­day lives. He did this with his 1997 best­seller, How Proust Can Change Your Life. And he took things a step fur­ther with his tele­vi­sion series called Phi­los­o­phy: A Guide to Hap­pi­ness. The episode above delves into Niet­zsche’s belief that hap­pi­ness only comes about with great effort and hard­ship. In the remain­ing five episodes, de Bot­ton gets into Socrates on self con­fi­dence, Seneca on anger, Epi­cu­rus on hap­pi­ness, Mon­taigne on self-esteem, and Schopen­hauer on love. Each episode runs about 25 min­utes. You can also find all six episodes neat­ly dis­played on one page here.

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  • Nietzsche’s words… “That which does not kill me… makes me stronger.” Who amongst us has­n’t heard this said in one way or anoth­er in our life. A state­ment pro­found in its sim­plic­i­ty.…

    Ask Your­self…
    Copy­right 2007 Michael Gib­bowr

    The Fail­ure of my Fail­ures
    Is that they nev­er failed to Fail to Remind me
    That Fail­ure is a sin­gu­lar Act of Mis­for­tune
    That at Worst is Trou­ble­some and at Best Tem­po­rary

    But in time my Daddy’s Words
    Fil­tered through my Trou­bled Nights
    Remind­ing me of the Basics
    And Set my Mind Aright

    “It’s Bet­ter to have Failed at Some­thing…
    Than to Suc­ceed at Noth­ing!” He’d Always Say
    And as it turned out Those Words
    Would Prove to be a Light in my Dark­est Days

    He also Taught that Liv­ing Life on Pur­pose
    Will Exact a Price you’ll Have To Pay
    And that come Right or Wrong
    From your Prin­ci­ples you should Nev­er Stray

    He Taught me that Duty, Hon­or, Coun­try
    Are More than a Metaphor
    He Did this By Exam­ple
    Who could ask for more…?

    And though many are those who’ve point­ed out
    My Daddy’s Feet of Clay
    My Opin­ion of the Man
    Is Not Inclined to Sway

    Not just Because I Learned From Him
    How to Be the Man that I’ve Become
    But because the Con­tent of His Char­ac­ter
    Exceed­ed All He’d ever Said or Done

    Hav­ing lived some myself
    With a Fair Share of Flaws of My Own
    And Observed the Incli­na­tion of Many
    To Crit­i­cize from the Safe­ty of their Com­fort Zone

    I’m of the Opin­ion
    That a Life that is Whol­ly Lived
    Is one that is Often Scarred by Cir­cum­stance
    Hav­ing Dared to Risk It All in the Effort That You Give

    Yes you could Live Com­fort­ably in Qui­et Des­per­a­tion
    As the world pro­ceeds to Pass you By
    And that Safe­ly Shel­tered World
    May offer Lit­tle Cause to Cry

    But then you have to Ask Your­self
    At the Risk of Fail­ure, Tears and Pain
    If the Pur­suit of Your Bet­ter Self
    Is Worth what it Costs With­out Com­pro­mise to Claim

    Only You Can Answer That Ques­tion
    Just as of myself I’ve had to do
    Is It Worth The Risk Of Fail­ure
    To Be A Bet­ter You…?

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