Let that determine what you do and say and think.” In their view, philosophy did not consist in teachign abstract theory - much less the exegesis of texts - but rather in the art of living. At least for a moment, however brief, as long as it is intense. Pierre Hadot was born in Paris in 1922. The following is a transcript of this video. This view may be partially attributable to the growing interest that contemporary philosophers have with producing ideas intended only for their fellow academics. Between 1953 and 1962, Hadot studied the Latin patristics and was trained in philology. Curious about the major works and figures in the study of the nature of reality and existence? 1-Sentence-Summary: The Obstacle Is The Way is a modern take on the ancient philosophy of Stoicism, which helps you endure the struggles of life with grace and resilience by drawing lessons from ancient heroes, former presidents, modern actors, athletes, and how they turned adversity into success, thanks to the power of perception, action and will. The modern individual who abides by the ancient conception of philosophy as a way of life, those “endless seekers” who “unsettle all things” as Emerson described them, are beacons of individuality and originality. 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 … Far more important than ones individual life is truth itself. La citadelle intérieure. Hadot divides these spiritual exercises into four distinctive disciplines, which we will describe in turn: If the aim of philosophy is to teach one how to live one’s life better, what is it that prevents us from doing so? In this video we will unearth some of the ancient philosophers’ ideas on the elusive “art of living”, displaying philosophy as a subject imbued with a potentially transformative power which can help one change their life. Learning to die is not a morbid obsession with death. To combat these existential sufferings, the ancients thought we should in our minds rise to a higher perspective: “Place before your mind’s eye the vast spread of time’s abyss, and embrace the universe; and then compare what we call human life with infinity…”(Letters from a Stoic, Seneca). “Throughout antiquity wisdom was considered a mode of being: a state in which a person is, in a way which is radically different from that of other people – a state in which he is a kind of superman.” (What is Ancient Philosophy?, Pierre Hadot). Without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry.” (Letters from a Stoic, Seneca). The French sociologist Georges Friedmann nicely captured the essence of the nature of spiritual exercises with these words: “Take flight each day! This book is about psychological roots in ancient philosophy(CBT,Positive Psychology,etc.) The philosophic way of life, if there is one, is displayed in a life in which action is held to be best directed when philosophical reflection has provided that direction; e.g., SOCRATES the paradigm of a philosopher. “He robs present ills of their power who has perceived their coming beforehand.”(Letters from a Stoic, Seneca). Get a FREE membership video! Taoism: A philosophy, a Religion, and a Way of Life If we consider God, the world, and I as religion, science, and philosophy respectively, Chinese culture was inclined toward the philosophical or I side, while Indian culture was inclined toward the religious or God side. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window). These exercises can be practiced by anyone at anytime, and can potentially raise one’s self and worldview to a level higher than most can even comprehend. Existentialists wanted to revive a more personal notion of truth that had become marginalized in favour of scientific inquiry into truth. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Paris, Fayard, 1992. The fact that it was unforeseen has never failed to intensify a person’s grief. Popular among Stoic philosophers, premeditating on future evils was thought to be an effective antidote to the inevitable painful and tragic situations that everyone must face, in one form or another. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Problems of Philosophy and what it means. It was never for the sake of philosophical discourse itself, but the practice of self mastery and freedom. Such then is the origin our own confusion. Pierre Hadot spent much of his life investigating these “percepts” or practices, calling them “spiritual exercises”. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”(, “Where there have been powerful societies, governments, religions, public opinions, in short wherever there has been tyranny, there the solitary philosopher has been hated; for philosophy offers an asylum to a man into which no tyranny can force its way, the inward cave, the labyrinth of the heart: and that annoys the tyrants.” (, Philosophy as a Way of Life, Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy?, Pierre Hadot, Human, All Too Human, Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, Friedrich Nietzsche. To learn to die, therefore is not to be obsessed about death in a morbid way, but to aim for a higher existence. Tranquility is a state marked by the absence of negative emotions such as anger, grief, anxiety, and fear, and the presence of positive emotions—in particular, joy. In the modern age, however, with the rise of secularism and the end of the domination of theology, philosophy as a way of life can emerge once more, and there is no doubt in modern philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger (and even Foucault in more recent times), we see that philosophy again has a direct bearing on how one lives one life, rather than being an academic discourse. It moulds and builds the personality, orders one’s life, regulates one’s conduct, shows one what one should do and what one should leave undone, sits at the helm, and keeps one on the correct course as one is tossed about in perilous seas. As Hadot writes: ‘, The intimate connection between dialogue with others and dialogue with oneself is profoundly significant. Start studying Pierre Hadot. . It purpose was to rationalise the dogmas of religion, but it was religion itself, and not philosophy, that was the guide to life. And in a world becoming increasingly uniform and unfree more of this type are sorely needed. These exercises can be practiced by anyone at anytime, and can potentially raise one’s self and worldview to a level higher than most can, Far from being morbid, the ancient philosophers thought that frequently meditating on death could help one appreciate and make the most of life by becoming aware of its inherent fragility. For the ancients, one studied philosophy to become a fully developed individual, able to navigate through life as successfully as possible, immune to the troubles, worries, and fears which plague the minds of most. Thus physics, for example, was never just about learning about the structure of the universe, but also demonstrating the scale of one’s own petty human worries. In the ideal realm or heaven after death, Taoists have both their individual souls and bodies, Christians have souls but Hindu-Buddhists have neither. If we contemplate potentially painful events ahead of time, acknowledging situations we are afraid of as a possibility, we will be better prepared to endure and overcome them. Philosophy, the author explains, was not a technical, complex discussion of words then, is was rather, a way of life. The most important of these exercises in Stoicism is ‘attention’ (prosoche). We would be wise, thought the ancients, to remind ourselves of the uncertain and uncontrollable nature of death more often: “Persuade yourself that each new day that dawns will be your last; then you will receive each unexpected hour with gratitude. This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. Most spend their days wholly consumed with planning and acting for the sake of the future, unable to enjoy the pleasures and beauty of the present moment, and completely unaware that the future which consumes so much of their time and energy may never come. Plato’s entire philosophy was built around transcending one’s individual perspective for a more total universal perspective, and his words helped Nietzsche, an “artist of life” like the ancients, escape from the pressures of being human, and realize that in the end it’s all only human, all too human: “At sunset in Genoa, I heard from a tower a long chiming of bells: it kept on and on, and over the noise of the backstreets, as if insatiable for itself, it rang out into the evening sky and the sea air, so terrible and so childish at the same time, so melancholy. 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