What makes you happy?

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Today we met and considered happiness (the Greek word is eudaimonia) as described by Greek philosopher, Aristotle. We each talked a little about what makes us happy. There was a lot of common ground with friends, family and nature featuring highly. I will include some of the ideas we looked at today:

Happiness comes from discovering who you are, developing your distinctive talents to work for the overall benefit of others as well as yourself.

Aristotle’s way of achieving happiness: activities that are in accordance with our virtues and the person having a noble purpose in those activities.

Happiness is having a sense of well-being that is achieved through good living. (Dr Martin Seligman).

According to Aristotle, ethics is about how people should best live, while the study of politics is from the perspective of the law-giver, looking at the good of the whole community (Wikipedia).

We talked about happiness and reflected on other positive emotions of which there are many examples as explored through the Positive Psychology field.

JOY, GRATITUDE, SERENITY, INTEREST, HOPE, PRIDE, AMUSEMENT, INSPIRATION, AWE, ELEVATION, ALTRUISM, SATISFACTION, RELIEF, AFFECTION, CHEERFULNESS, SURPRISE, CONFIDENCE, ADMIRATION, ENTHUSIASM, EAGERNESS, EUPHORIA, CONTENTMENT, ENJOYMENT, OPTIMISM, LOVE

(https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/positive-emotions-list-examples-definition-psychology)

There was plenty of lively discussion and different points of view which made it all the more interesting. Next time we meet we will be looking at Machiavelli.

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Philosophy 2019

Next week I will be starting the Let’s Talk Philosophy course for our local University of the Third Age.

This year we will be using the book “50 Philosophy Classics” by Tom Butler Brown. We hope to cover just ten philosophers between now and June. It will really be an introduction to each of the chosen philosophers and we will enjoy some stimulating conversation and hopefully a few laughs!

I usually include a quote by a philosopher as a basis for discussion. Our first one is Aristotle and the quote is:

Aristotle 384BC – 322BC

Do you have any thoughts on the quote? I would love to hear them!

Mooji – The Parable of the Two Birds

Just wanted to share this post from Val at Finding Your Middle Ground. I think it reflects what I was trying to say in my most recent post.

Find Your Middle Ground

This inspiration is from Mooji and is taken from ‘Vaster Than Sky Greater Than Space’.

“Some time ago I saw a picture depicting a parable from the Bhagavad Gita. It showed two birds in a tree, and one of them was building a nest. This one is flying off collecting things, arranging the twigs – its active, doing many things.

Above this bird, on another branch, is a second bird. It looks identical to the first bird, and it’s not building anything. It is just observing. It’s not building a self-image out of its perceiving, and its not deeply interested in any aspect of what it sees. Its perceiving is happening quite spontaneously without effort or judgment. There’s a silence there, that feeling of Being without thought. Just looking.

This is a beautiful portrait of who we are.

These two birds are connected. The first  bird represents our dynamic being…

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An Orange

I sometimes find that depression sneaks up on me. I have lots of strategies for working around it (diet, exercise, pills, positive psychology etc) but sometimes it wins. Today was one of those days.

I caught myself being grumpy when reaching for my ‘after-dinner’ orange that I have everyday that we have oranges in the house. I looked at the orange and thought how nice it looked. I remembered living in a remote community in the Northern Territory of Australia and we had no access to fresh fruit at the time. That was when I realised that oranges are my favourite fruit. We had to order food about six weeks in advance and the grocery order came by barge from Northern Queensland (quite a distance away). 

I held the orange in my hand, smelled it, felt the texture and felt very grateful for it. I then proceeded to eat it while savouring the taste! It didn’t cure my depression but it was a circuit breaker letting some light in!

A Recipe reflecting Life

bake baked basil broccoli

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I was cooking dinner this evening – Tuna Mornay – an old favourite. Now, over time I have been careful about particular food items and sensitivities. The mornay starts with cooking the onion in butter. Next is to add flour to make a roux (butter and flour mixed together to make a paste). I used gluten-free flour. All good so far.

Next item to add was the milk – soy milk of course. Then I added the tuna, cheese, spices, corn and peas.

An then I laughed at myself. Why did I bother with the gluten-free flour and the soy milk when I had already included a whole onion?

red brown white and purple onions and garlic displayed

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Then I got philosophical. We take so much care in looking after very specific aspects of our lives while we cannot see the bit that really needs attention (the equivalent of the onion) in our lives.

I guess this is how most of us manage day-to-day life. We are not always attentive to the bigger picture – especially if our thoughts are busy with a million distractions. We keep hearing about the importance of being mindful of the present moment but it often alludes me still.

 

Young means young, not wonderful

A great post/poem by blogger friend, Rachel McAlpine from New Zealand (currently in Seoul).

Write into life

Billboard of two old lovers kissing. Text: WE ARE YOUNG C’mon. Who are you kidding? “Young” is a lexical error, desperate denial, and a sign of ageism.

Say these two lovers are eighty-two.
They may have many qualities of youth
they may be elastic, enthusiastic
they may be childlike, childish, curious, wildish
trusty, busty, lusty, gusty
brainy, zany, frantic, romantic
yearning, burning, learning, earning
they may be healthy and flexible and fit
they may be monarchs of the internet
they may be smart, they may be fun
they may leave you for dead when they go for a run
bouncy, flouncy, insecure
they may have charisma, they may have allure
they may be beautiful beyond all norms
gorgeous and cuddly and bubbly with dreams
they may be cute
but here’s the truth
one thing they do not have
it’s gone, it’s done, it’s been replaced
and that is youth.


Billboard in Seoul that is intended (I presume) to combat ageism……

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When is it tomorrow?

I am into Week 2 of my course on Practical Philosophy Online

I loved the Story of the Week so thought I would share it with you. The author is unknown.

One day Arnav and his friend Bhima were having a friendly chat while walking just outside the marketplace in Dhubri. A beggar asked for some help from Arnav, who told him to ask him tomorrow. The beggar went away. Looking around Bhima saw a big drum at a stall just inside the market took the big drum and started walking through the market beating the drum furiously. Arnav was surprised, ran after his friend and asked why he was doing this.

Bhima said, “I want to declare that our revered Arnav has won the battle against time! You told that beggar to come tomorrow. How do you know that you will be there tomorrow? How do you know that beggar would still be alive tomorrow? Even if, you both are alive, you might not be in a position to give anything. Or, the beggar might not even need anything tomorrow. How did you know that you could both even meet tomorrow? You are the first person in this world that has overcome time. I want to tell people of Dhubri about this.”

Arnav got the message from Bhima, recalling that actions can only occur in the present moment. Arnav called that beggar right away and gave him the necessary help.

On ‘Women in Love’

While recently reading Women in Love by DH Lawrence I was reminded of a quote by French philosopher Michel de Montaigne:

“I am not prepared to bash my brains for anything, not even for learning’s sake however precious it may be. From books all I seek is to give myself pleasure by an honourable pastime… If I come across difficult passages in my reading I never bite my nails over them: after making a charge or two I let them be… If one book wearies me I take up another.”

But I had a problem as a literary essay by Norman Loftis claims it to be a masterpiece and DH Lawrence’s best book. I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover and had no such difficulty with it so it must be me, right?

couple engagement hands human

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Anyway, I was determined to make it to the end and I also re-read the essay to see if it made more sense and perhaps I could understand what he was getting at – the need for men and women to find a new way of loving and living that was more equal and freer. It was written over 100 years ago at a time when women were seeking emancipation and turning away from subservience.

Anyway, I found it to be pretty tough going. Have you read it and, if so, what did you think of it?