I’m considering editing a book on the similarities and differences among a number of philosophies of life, sort of a guide to choosing your own philosophy, after actually learning a bit about it. The idea came from two video conversations I’ve had over the last year about Stoicism, Buddhism and Existentialism.
The first one was published on 2 February 2016, and features a dialogue between yours truly and Daniel Finke, moderated by my colleague and friend Dan Kaufman (of the Sophia philosophy channel), on Stoicism and Buddhism. Daniel and I talk about Stoicism as a philosophical alternative to standard religions, and about what it means to adapt an ancient philosophy of life to modern times. We discuss the Stoic and Buddhist idea of accepting the truth about the world, even when it is harsh or unpalatable, which includes confronting regret, fear, and death itself. We then talk about applying Stoicism and Buddhism to the social sphere, and finally about how to interpret the concept, common to both traditions, of radical self-sufficiency. Here is the full video:
The second dialogue was published on 5 April 2017, and it is with my friend and colleague Skye Cleary, where we confront Stoicism and Existentialism — still under the moderation of Dan Kaufman. We begin by explaining the basics of both philosophies, and then discussing the various roles we play in life and how Stoicism and Existentialism treat them. We get into the well known example of the seasick Stoic philosopher to explain the difference between what we can and cannot control, and move on to the very different types of psychotherapies that have been inspired by the two philosophies. We tackle suicide, which Camus famously dabbed “the only serious philosophical problem,” surprise the viewer by explaining that Stoics considered their approach to be a philosophy of love, and end with a discussion of what happens when practicing virtue becomes near impossible. The full video is here: