What is Happiness? What is the Good Life? Lessons from the ancient philosophers to help improve our lives today.
- Kamran Mofid
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Philosophy As a Way of Life
“Vain is the word of that philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man."- Epicurus
Philosophy, as it is practiced today, is abstract, theoretical, and detached from life, just one academic subject among others. In the Greco-Roman world, it was something quite different, argues the French philosopher Pierre Hadot. Philosophy was a way of life. Not merely a subject of study, philosophy was considered an art of living, a practice aimed at relieving suffering and shaping and remaking the self according to an ideal of wisdom; “Such is the lesson of ancient philosophy: an invitation to each human being to transform himself. Philosophy is a conversion, a transformation of one's way of being and living, and a quest for wisdom.” It is the practice of what Hadot calls "spiritual exercises" that brings about self-transformation and makes philosophy a way of life.