I recently picked up “Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations” by Jules Evans. I only read the blurb before compulsively buying it, but I can’t say I regret it. Beforehand, the only people I knew interested in philosophy were consumed by arrogance and felt a need to speak incoherently. Needless to say, that had put me off it until now. Reading this book completely changed my attitude, and presented philosophy as something relevant and accessible to all. Jules Evans has so much of interest to say (check out his blog).
Here are three things to mull over today:
- If a situation is out of your control, don’t worry about it- This is common sense really, but incredibly hard to accept. Next time you’re worrying about the prospect of bad weather or what someone thought of your actions, remind yourself that there’s nothing you can do to change it. Focus on what you can change instead.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ” Epictetus
- Let your hair down (or tie it up if needs be) – In Friedrich Nietzsche’s “The Birth of Tragedy”, life is said to always contain a struggle between two elements. Firstly, there is the Apollonian: the ordered, cultured and individual force. Next, there is the Dionysian: the collective, intoxicated and chaotic force. Consider which dominates your daily decisions and activities. Is more of a balance required? I feel in control when I’m working, studying, or creating order independently. As soon as I enjoy myself, pour a glass of wine or socialise, I immediately feel more relaxed and balanced. Alternatively, others may need some time alone to reflect or create order.
“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”Michel de Montaigne
- Enjoy your lunch – Epicurus didn’t necessarily advocate a rampant pursuit of pleasure, but we should all regularly enjoy little moments of pleasure. Have a piece of chocolate, make a nice meal, have a long bath – just take your time and savour the moment fully.