So, we’ve covered Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics, Mill’s Utilitarianism, and Kant’s Deontology. All of these ethical systems seemed pretty viable—Aristotle emphasized the importance of habituating a temperate character and utilizing phronesis to find the golden mean between a universal law and a particular circumstance, largely through politics and familial means; Mill endorsed consequential and empirical eudaemonism, stating that everything we do is a mean to the sole end of happiness, thus we must maximize happiness in our every interaction; and Kant introduced his absolutist, rationalistic, deontological system, which elevated the categorical imperative as the ethical, stating we must only act in such a way that we would will others to act, and that we must always treat people as ends in themselves.
“Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim.” – Arthur Shopenhauer
On the Suffering of the World is a fourteen-page essay filled with insights from our de facto pessimist, Arthur Schopenhauer. The man can’t be beaten–he’s like Morrissey with a Ph.D. and a harder life, Hitchhiker‘s Marvin with a depressive short-circuit. He’s an all-around good time.
Reading any Irvin D. Yalom book is therapeutic in itself. He writes boldly yet gently and fills every page with the insights of past philosophers and those of his own. Yalom founded existential psychotherapy, a stance holding that unconscious anxieties–most notably the “Four Ultimate Concerns” of death, isolation, meaninglessness, and freedom–impair our conscious thoughts and actions. This is not a standalone therapy, he claims, but a supplemental stance intending to make therapists and patients privy to existential issues. However, The Gift of Therapy‘s pages are not colored only with existential ideologies. No, this Continue reading The Gift of Therapy – A Book Review