The Freedom of Being Who You Are


Why Try to Escape?

Only creatures that are as flawed and ignorant as humans can be free in the way humans are free.

We do not know how matter came to dream our world into being. We do not know what, if anything, comes when the dream ends for us and we die. We yearn for a type of knowledge that would make us other than we are — though what we would like to be, we cannot say.

Letting Go, Being Free

Accepting the fact of unknowing makes possible an inner freedom very different from that pursued by Gnostics. If you have this negative capability, you will not want a higher form of consciousness. Your ordinary mind will give you all you need.

Rather than trying to impose sense upon life, you will be content to let meaning come and go. Instead of becoming an unfaltering puppet, you will make your way in the stumbling human world.

We do not have to wait until we can fly before we can be free. Not looking to ascend into the heavens, we can find freedom in falling to earth.

Soul of the Marionette
The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom
John Gray



John Gray
John Gray

born 1948

. Wikipedia
. Wikiquote

. Big Think repository
. Forget your delusions and be happy, advises John Gray (Oxford Today article)

John Gray is an English political philosopher with interests in analytic philosophy and the history of ideas. He has been a professor of politics at Oxford, a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale, and School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Gray now writes full-time. He contributes regularly to The GuardianThe Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman, where he is the lead book reviewer.

Books John Gray has written include:

“A Short Enquiry Into Human Freedom” – John Gray


On Man, Beliefs and Changes – John Gray



How Can We Experience Joy In Life?


Experiencing Joy in Life

Joy for human beings lies in proper human work. And proper human work consists in: acts of kindness to  other human beings, disdain for the stirrings of the senses, identifying trustworthy impressions, and contemplating the natural order and all that happens when you keep it.

Marcus Aurelius, from Meditations

When dog trainers are brought in to work with a dysfunctional or unhappy dog, they usually start with the question: “Do you take the dog for walks?” They ask because dogs were bred to do certain tasks –  to do work – and when deprived of this essential part of their nature, they suffer and act out. This is true no matter how spoiled and nice their lives might be.

The same is true for humans. When you hear the Stoics brush aside certain emotions or material luxuries, it’s not because they don’t want to enjoy them. It’s not because the Stoic life is one bereft of happiness or fun. The Stoics simply mean to help us find our essence – to experience the joy of our proper human work.

Stoicism flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD. Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world.

The Daily Stoic
The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
Ryan Holiday

Background on Marcus Aurelius

How Can We Hit The Target In Life?


Hitting the Target in Life

First tell yourself what kind of person you want to be, then do what you have to do. For in nearly every pursuit we see this to be the case. Those in athletic pursuit first choose the sport they want, and then do that work.

Epictetus, from Discourses

An archer is highly unlikely to hit the target she did not aim for. The same goes for us, whatever out target. We’re certain to miss the target if we don’t bother to draw back and fire.

Our perceptions and principles guide us in the selection of what we want – but ultimately our actions determine whether we get there or not.

Spend some time – uninterrupted time – thinking about what’s important to you, what your priorities are. Then, work toward that and forsake all the others.

It’s not enough to wish and hope…

We must act – and act right.

The Daily Stoic
The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
Ryan Holiday

Background on Epictetus

How Can We Turn Off Autopilot?


Pay Attention to What You’re Doing and Why

We always need to remember that we’re signing up for the life we’re leading. Where you can, sign up for what is truly meaningful.

Look to uncover the significance of any activity you participate in:

  • Remember that all around you is the majesty of nature and the mystery of humanity.
  • Be conscious that you have the power to control yourself in all areas of life.
  • Treat tough times as good opportunities to advance yourself.

Be in the Present Moment

As Marcus Aurelius says in the Meditations:

Everywhere and at all times, it is up to you to rejoice piously at what is occurring at the present moment, to conduct yourself with justice towards the people who are present here and now, and to apply rules of discernment to your present representations, so that nothing slips in that is not objective.

Laugh When Things Go ‘Wrong’ and When Things Go ‘Right’

Don’t be hurt or offended when people act poorly, or upset when things don’t go your way. Instead, chuckle at the discrepancy between our human ideas and how reality plays out. For that matter, chuckle when things do — miracle of miracles — go your way.

Laughter is a good way of transcending our dependencies.

The Deepest Human Life
The Deepest Human Life: An Introduction to Philosophy for Everyone

Scott Samuelson

Winner of the 2015 Hiett Prize in the Humanities

The book is currently being translated into Chinese and Portuguese.

Scott Samuelson
Scott Samuelson

. Scott Samuelson website
Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers (article in The Atlantic)

Scott Samuelson has a PhD in Philosophy from Emory University. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where he teaches philosophy at Kirkwood Community College (since 2000).

Samuelson is a volunteer teacher at Oakdale Prison, Iowa. He’s also a movie reviewer, television host, and sous chef at a French restaurant. He has two children.

Books Scott Samuelson has written:

How Philosophy Can Save Your Life – TEDx Talk – Scott Samuelson 

Winnie-the-Pooh and The Art of ‘Being’

Winnie the Pooh - Jumping

Winnie-the-Pooh Effortlessly Moves Through Life 

Winnie-the-Pooh is never in a hurry and simply does what he wants to do. Paradoxically, although Pooh never exerts himself particularly hard, he does manage to make his wishes come true, and he has many adventures – Pooh finds the North Pole, helps Eeyore find his tail, makes up poems, and flies with the help of a balloon.

The Wu Wei Principle

The Chinese call this principle Wu Wei.  Wu means ‘without’ and Wei means ‘effort’ – the main idea of this Taoist principle is that we need to know when to act and when to let things just happen. And even when we act, we should go about it effortlessly, the way trees grow or waves roll. The best rendition of this principle in English might be ‘creative quietude’.

Winnie-the-Pooh Enjoys Just ‘Being’

In our day and age, most of us spend our time ‘doing’ and devote little time to just ‘being’. Pooh exemplifies the essential quality of ‘being’, and clearly enjoys himself greatly.

The art of ‘being’ entails a fundamental balancing act: while we work and create, which is our very essence and the purpose of our existence in this world, we must find time to enjoy our mere presence, our ‘being’ here, and relish it.

Happiness and Other Small Things of Absolute Importance
Happiness and Other Small Things of Absolute Importance

Haim Shapira



Haim Shapira
Haim Shapira
born 1963

. Wikipedia

Haim Shapira is an Israeli mathematician, pianist, speaker, philosopher and game theorist. He is one of the most sought-after lecturers in Israel, and was also a keynote speaker at TEDxJaffa on game theory and strategy.

Shapira is currently a senior lecturer at The College of Management Academic Studies in Rishon LeZion, Israel. He is Head of the Excellent Students Program and lecturer at the School of Economics and at the School of Behavioral Sciences. His main research areas are game theory and philosophy.

Shapira writes in Hebrew, and his books have been translated into English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and Korean. His first two books in English are Happiness and Other Small Things of Absolute Importance, and Gladiators, Pirates and Games of Trust.