Aristotle was Right, Almost (Part 1)

Several posts ago I mentioned that the Epicurean philosophy explains very accurately the Journey segment of the road to happiness.  This philosophy centers on the removal of pain and anxiety in one’s daily life.  The Journey, if lived properly, does just what the Epicureans propose: removal of pain and anxiety in everyday life.  The Journey begins with preparation by one’s family and society (nurture, safety, eduction, food, shelter) followed by activities that lead to flow experiences.  These flow experiences help to distance oneself from the drudgery of everyday life by providing a sense of belonging and self-esteem.  These activities, along with the preparation, help to satisfy the first four needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  However, this philosophy falls short in helping to satisfy the final need of Maslow – self-actualization (or the completion of one’s call or summons).

Several posts ago I also mentioned that the Stoic philosophy explains very accurately the Adventure segment of the road to happiness.  This philosophy centers on the exercise of the virtues as necessary and sufficient for attaining happiness.  The virtues (specifically wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice) aid in satisfying Maslow’s self-actualization need of recognizing one’s call, the courage to accept the call, the tools to resist the many temptations that will be encountered, and the willingness to provide one’s gifts (or calling) to others.  This philosophy helps to satisfy the final need of Maslow’s hierarchy; however, it does little to explain how to satisfy the first four needs.  In other words, the Stoic philosophy does little to explain the Journey and how you acquire the virtues needed for the Adventure.

One philosopher manages to recognize the necessity of both the Journey and the Adventure – Aristotle.  His thinking spans both the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies without diminishing the benefits of each.

More to come!

 

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