Philosophy: Guide to Happiness

Philosophy: Guide to Happiness

2000, Philosophy  -   356 Comments
Ratings: 8.43/10 from 402 users.

We tend to accept that people in authority must be right. It's this assumption that Socrates wanted us to challenge by urging us to think logically about the nonsense they often come out with, rather than being struck dumb by their aura of importance and air of suave certainty. This six part series on philosophy is presented by popular British philosopher Alain de Botton, featuring six thinkers who have influenced history, and their ideas about the pursuit of the happy life.

Socrates on Self-Confidence (Part 1) - Why do so many people go along with the crowd and fail to stand up for what they truly believe? Partly because they are too easily swayed by other people's opinions and partly because they don't know when to have confidence in their own.

Epicurus on Happiness (Part 2) - British philosopher Alain De Botton discusses the personal implications of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270BCE) who was no epicurean glutton or wanton consumerist, but an advocate of "friends, freedom and thought" as the path to happiness.

Seneca on Anger (Part 3) - Roman philosopher Lucious Annaeus Seneca (4BCE-65CE), the most famous and popular philosopher of his day, took the subject of anger seriously enough to dedicate a whole book to the subject. Seneca refused to see anger as an irrational outburst over which we have no control. Instead he saw it as a philosophical problem and amenable to treatment by philosophical argument.

Montaigne on Self-Esteem (Part 4) - Looks at the problem of self-esteem from the perspective of Michel de Montaigne (16th Century), the French philosopher who singled out three main reasons for feeling bad about oneself - sexual inadequecy, failure to live up to social norms, and intellectual inferiority - and then offered practical solutions for overcoming them.

Schopenhauer on Love (Part 5) - Alain De Botton surveys the 19th Century German thinker Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) who believed that love was the most important thing in life because of its powerful impulse towards 'the will-to-life'.

Nietzsche on Hardship (Part 6) - British philosopher Alain De Botton explores Friedrich Nietzsche's (1844-1900) dictum that any worthwhile achievements in life come from the experience of overcoming hardship. For him, any existence that is too comfortable is worthless, as are the twin refugees of drink or religion.

More great documentaries

356 Comments / User Reviews

Leave a Reply to Contemplate Now Cancel reply

  1. Prophets may advise a step above philosophers. "Spiritual happiness is life eternal. This is a light which is not followed by darkness. This is an honour which is not followed by shame. This is a life that is not followed by death. This is an existence that is not followed by annihilation. This great blessing and precious gift is obtained by man only through the guidance of God." ~Abdu’l-Baha

  2. I found it. All one under the sun, and water if fuel. Hydrogen....Wake up people.

  3. I neeeeverrrr knew that pretty much EVERYONE called Socrates ugly.....including his friends 0.o

  4. I've been enjoying this series a lot, but episode 5 is just plain stupid. I don't care if Schopenhauer came a century before Darwin; I will never be deceived into believing that our experiences are mechanistic- love or any other. Life is like a deep well in which all the distinct echoes eventually reach resonance; at that point the end no long matters and the clarity is brilliant. The end of mystery.

    1. What a meaningless jumble of words. Pseudo philosophical word salad doesn't even begin to describe it.

    2. Wow. Here is an example of a glaringly happy person.

    3. I don't see any argument in your comment.
      could you give me argument with conclusion and premises of why do you disagree with schopenhauer's view?

  5. I want to die by lightning.

    I want Zeus to end my life.

    I want his reasons to prevail because that would be easier than thus..

  6. Wow that was great but too short! I want more. I was just thinking of moving to an uninhabited island before I watched this. :D
    I see there are 6 parts now, but still I'm going to look up more on Socrates.

  7. SO helpful, thank you for providing insight. These documentaries are invaluable, and if you can even take 5% of the lessons and adapt them to your own life, you start your journey on leading a more introspective and happier life.

  8. This series are really helpful. This being said the part on love is a big short cut on the matter and does not develop essential components such as the psychological patterns of human beings, their social status and position in the society. Say that love is essentially based on physical appearance as it is in the animal world is very restricting since human being have other much more complex social and psychological characteristics - characteristic that they are (that we all are) seeking in our partners.

  9. Thanks for your valuable information about philosophy

  10. Sufism-Check it out-These are very low earthly thinking processes.Like baby steps in the evolution of thinking.We deserve better.Find the truth.And learn to die before you die.Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

  11. Unfortunately, only Western philosophers are presented here. All of which are flawed and unawake.

    1. As compared to who?

    2. Thank you, engage in your own question and the answer is there to be found. Wisdom is found through sincere inquiry and self discovery.
      May peace be with you

    3. way to step up to the plate buddha

    4. Thank you and well done
      It benefits one to know that wisdom, peace and contentment are not found in books, discussions and arguments
      May peace be with you

    5. If so, what was the intention and purpose of your first comment....? Your logic seems flawed my friend.

    6. Thank you, what logic are you assuming and what flaw?
      May peace be with you

    7. Thank you.

      You are quite condescending.

      Peace be with you.

    8. Often we forget that insults say more about the speaker than the spoken of

    9. Congratulations, you have just been moderately enlightened with your enquiry.

    10. Your comment implies you believe there are eastern philosophers whom should have been presented. But your reply didn't mention them.

    11. Lao-Tse!!!

    12. The Buddha, Lao Tzu, Krishna as examples

  12. Total bulls*it, attraction and love are not necesarelly the same thing, don't buy everything shoppenhauer says, there's been some progress since then...

  13. In Schopenhauer's (and later Nietzsche's) words, the guy who made this documentary is a mere "man of learning". And what a dumb man of learning he is!

  14. By the way, his understanding of Nietzsche is idiotic. Nietzsche is saying quite the opposite: that success comes naturally, easily to people. Has he never read about Nietzsche's "light feet"?

  15. I like this guys approach. He makes the various philosophies a lot less abstract and a bit more practical. Also there's a rather good book out there from him called "How to think more about sex" that does a fantastic job of getting at the things that drive us and where they take us when it comes to sex. Highly recommended.

  16. I like to say question authority. especially, your own.

    1. That's what I said below. You are just copying my comments as your own. That's very low, very low.

    2. James - Isn't it possible she didn't read your comments before she commented. Your ego is creating a hurt where there was likely none intended. Just saying.

    3. James..."Question Authority" is one of the most commonly used "bumper sticker" quotes out there. So chill.

    4. Yeah, chill

    5. please do not tell others to STFU. or offer veiled threats. consider this your warning

    6. Yeah, like I said chill.

    7. and now you are banned

  17. My main philosophy has always been, "Question authority." If you start out from the premise that authorities know nothing more than anyone else and their main purpose it to protect their authority, you will rarely be wrong or disappointed.

  18. I love to know what Mr. Arthur Schopenhauer has to say about people who fall in love but can't reproduce or "will to life" bulls*it. >_> My man and I have been together for over 9yrs yet we don't have a horde of children as most other couples within our range group in our neighborhood. There is at times a deeper connection between people that goes beyond the "will to life" crap Mr. Arthur Schopenhauer tells us. I love some of Mr. Schopenhauers' philosophies about people, especially on the notion that peoples' opinions of others are superficial and such, but his view on love is limited and bias, and definitely only set up for some people. He over looks a lot on other forms of relationships, people who are infertile (either born that way or by disease or by physical trauma) and people who opt for sterilization (temporary such as IUD or permanent like tubal ligation). The "will to life" for me is utter bulls*it nonsense in our modern world. >_> Clearly Mr. Schopenhauer never heard of abortions, condoms or genital removal, which all would have occurred and existed in his time since they were created and done so many years ago.

  19. Philosophy, not about convincing other people you're right, but about convincing other people they could be wrong.

    1. I love your quote. I wish I could thumbs up it many times over.

    2. You have no idea how stupid that sounds. Is there anyone here who can guess what I'm onto here?

    3. Screw it, I'll answer it myself. Philosophy: not about convincing other people you're right, nor about convincing them they are wrong (which is actually worse than the former), but about discovering how things work in order to take them to your advantage.

      Whose philosophy is this? Quick!

    4. Convincing them they COULD be wrong... forcing a step back and an examination or re-evaluation of ones convictions. It's not an accurate description, but it seems to fit the bill of what these guys were doing with it.

    5. Convincing other people that you're right is far nobler than convincing other people that they are (or that they could be) wrong. It is only resentful people who put the second above the first, and that's because they hate the idea that there exist people who have definite answers to all the questions in the world -- they would rather have everyone know nothing about anything. Socrates was nothing but a man of ressentiment.

      Beside that, when you prove people that you're right, you also prove them that they are wrong. But instead of merely proving them that they are wrong, you're also providing them with a superior way of thinking, which is, you have to admit, more productive than simply proving everyone they know nothing about anything.

    6. "Convincing other people that you're right is far nobler than convincing other people that they are (or that they could be) wrong"

      Try practising what you preach then.

      "there exist people who have definite answers to all the questions in the world "

      You can't seriously be that gullible?

    7. I'm already practicing it.

      "You can't seriously be that gullible?"

      You have failed to understand what I'm saying, there's no doubt about that. I didn't say that there are people with "absolute" truths -- there is no such a thing as "absolute" truth. What I've said is that there are people who simply know (i.e. who can effectively put their knowledge to practice.)

      It's generally better to KNOW than to NOT KNOW (there are also times when it's better to not rush your answer, that is to say, to endure a period of nihilism, of not knowing -- Nietzsche talks about that quite a lot -- but that is not important for the topic at hand.) The point I'm trying to make is that questioning for the sake of questioning is decadent.

    8. I would rather have the right questions than the wrong answers.

    9. There are only more or less wrong answers -- there are no "right" answers, they are all eventually shown to be wrong. But in order to live, one is forced to have an answer and believe in it.

    10. I'm glad you're not that gullible but I didn't really think you were, just like you don't really think that Paul Gloor's original comment sounds that stupid.

      Nihilism has its benefits but it's no guarantee that you'll arrive at the "right" answers. And yes I'd agree that questioning for questioning's sake can be considered decadent but so can having all the answers.

      I'm not sure if you seriously consider Socrates to be just a man driven by resentment? That's a fairly radical claim to make given the fruits of his particular form of questioning.

    11. I think it preferable they be prodded to question themselves than look to someone else who claims to have the answers.
      My growing capacity for critical thinking has directed me to ask myself if I am unsure, could I be wrong, followed by research to prove myself one way or the other.

      Telling someone you are right, even with mounds of evidence meets with resistance as can be witnessed on the creation/evolution front. You need first to engage the mind before feeding it information.

    12. What I'm saying is that it is better to pit an idea against an idea than to pit a non-idea (i.e. pure criticism) against an idea.

      Boundless criticism is a fun thing, but if it is not controlled (and that's what "boundless" means) it will cripple your mind and turn you into a pessimist.

    13. Well, you seem totally useless other than for exercising my insults. :)

      You appear to have embraced some sort of crude pragmatism, but it would be to your advantage to see how philosophy can work perhaps by exploring the contributions of Karl Popper, and then moving on to others.

    14. That's exactly what I did: I started with Popper and then moved on to Nietzsche. I don't think Popper has anything worthwhile to say.

      The reason I find Paul's statement problematic is because it puts too much emphasis on proving people wrong -- that sounds a bit too much like ressentiment to me.

  20. How do people know about philosophers who are dead? by status?

    1. but what kind of status ? The kind you get by having lots of stuff or by the kind you earn by making waves that affect peoples lives ?

  21. He mentioned that human and sheeps are related. How they are related?

    1. he didnt say that. He said they shared things in common (the herd mentality). But sheep and humans are also, as matter of fact, related, our DNA is almost the same.

  22. This montage of advice from Alain de Button's favorite philosophers is sure to bring useful insight for all humans. Why isn't philosophy
    more popular than religion? short approximately 25 minute segments
    on six world renown philosophers, excellent

  23. What did the main philosophy say about being happy?

  24. just watch on 4OD if ur in the UK

  25. Very nice series.. I founded very light-presented, although the subject was about philosophy.. The first thing I did after watching was to google for Montaigne essays.. and to be a bit critical.. did he really have to wear the same shirt on every journey??

  26. what is comment policy ? it will be difficult to comment any documentary without seeing fully, the web browser prevents me seeing all incredibly.

  27. That dude is anoying???

    That dude is Alain De Botton, he is one of our time's best authors of philosophy.

    1. He looks like he could be Mick Jagger's love child..

  28. This is a fantastic series from one of my favourite contemporary philosophers - Alain De Botton. Happy watching!

  29. I'd bite his arse bad if I were that dog he was dragging along behind his bike.

  30. I can't see nothing! The videos no longer exist, I think.
    Does any knows any other link to watch these? any help will be very much appreciated. Thanks

    1. it started playing just fine for me. Search for it on youtube, might be able to see it there.

  31. its blocked now :((

  32. The host is extremely ugly and annoying, I am very interested in the subject, but the dude is just too terrible.

    1. I agree :-)

    2. Obviously one such as yourself should not bother to worry about such subjects as philosophy, if they are as judgemental and unkind as you. Mostly due to the fact, that such judgements cloud the true ideas and points uncoverd by philosophy and philsophy alone.

    3. really you talk like a sheep so you become sheep so please do not say anything & stay a sleep!

  33. Ahave the videos been taken down?

  34. One of the best documentaries, I've seen all of them.

  35. Enjoyed the series - especially the one on Montaigne.

  36. 1 against 11!? 12 angry men in real life!

  37. I use de Botton's book, Consolations of Philosophy in my Ethics classes. Shows how reason can be used to cope with some of life's biggest problems. Interesting read with photos and graphics to illustrate points.

  38. @dewflirt

    Hello my deadly and dangerous foe, I smile, but what a way to go! Is this your PHiLOSOPHY by any chance?

    The Careful One

    1. No way, when you catch a good one you eat it one leg at a time :)

    2. How ya going my friend I have not spoken to you for a while and hope your health is doing fine and your now starting to thaw since your so called summer is upon you.
      Philosophy has a broader scope of meaning than I first thought.

    3. Hi Jackmax

      You’re right mate; philosophy has a very broad scope, as broad as can be imagined and then some. But like anything with gargantuan amounts of broadness you have to start somewhere, I think this doc is a great place to start for anyone with an interest but is new to the subject. Have you watched it and did you ever get round to that mofocycle maintenance book I mentioned?

    4. Hello my friend,

      I have watched this doco and a few others on this subject, which I have found interesting.
      I have yet to read it however on my list of book to read it's nearing the top. I'm currently reading and trying to understand my states new legislation that is effecting myself and all other motorcyclist in our state. I have been quite busy with pro-active protests towards our government trying to get these laws overturned. However it looks like a High Court battle is the only way for us to go as the government are not prepared to waiver or except that these new anti-bikie law are effecting innocent bike rider across our state.
      It's at the stage the if you ride a Harley Davidson, you are seen by the police as a criminal. I've even been targeted walking down the street wearing my Harley shirts at 5.30am when going for my morning walk.

    5. G’day mate.

      I’m so pleased you’ve watched this and a few other philosophy docs. Alain du Botton’s style of applying philosophy to the everyday things of life is a way forward for a subject that often wallows in the backwaters of consciousness – whatever that is. He wrote a book called “How to Think More about Sex” which I thought was possibly the worst title ever , but it was a good, revealing and honest read, if you like that kind of thing. Waking Life is a doco I recommend if you haven’t seen it. I was wondering if you’ve seen a good doco lately that you’d recommend I take a look at?

      I’m glad to hear that you’re being pro-active about state legislation re mofocycles and hope that your battles are victorious, if you believe in it strongly enough it’s worth fighting for. I’ve gotta tell you though that I’m with the fashion police on this one - I think Harley’s are the most ugly bikes ever made, and anyone with the bad taste to own one AND wear the tee shirt deserves to be arrested....and shot ;)

    6. G'day mate,

      I have written that book down on my list to read and I will watch the doco you have recommended.
      I've been watching nature doco of late, with a few of the usual recently added docos thrown in. I must admit I enjoyed Land of Dragons.

      i don't think I have bad taste or deserve to be treated like a criminal for wearing any clothing as long as it's not offensive.

    7. G’day J

      That Alain du Botton book is good my friend but I wasn’t explicitly recommending it, I’m not even sure why I mentioned it but it sprang to mind when I was thinking about his application of philosophy to the everyday. I guess it tells you what else was on my mind. If you’re a nookie monster and want to delve behind your darkest perversions then this book is for you, but I would go for ZAMM first, the 25 year anniversary edition if you can get it. I’m sure you’ll love it, anyway, you can shout at me if you don’t like it. I love nature docs to, especially those in HD. I’ll watch Land of Dragons soon, thanks for the recommendation.

      Harley owners are treated as crims over here by law - and those that wear the tee shirt get shot - it’s a kindness really. Joking aside mate I did like the one in “Electra Glide in Blue”, but the gyro version was for cops only as I remember, bar stewards! As long as you’re within the law of your country you have every right to feel aggrieved by them treating you as criminal. Good luck with your actions and enjoy your bike with pride.

    8. G'day 6's

      I enjoy riding my Fatboy at every opportunity
      I'd get.

      Have just started reading another Matthew Rielly book, Dewflirt recommended them to me a while ago and for fiction I must say he is a very enjoyable read especially after a hectic day. I was over at Docomans during the week and I downloaded a couple of David Attenborough documentaries which are normally a good watch.

    9. G'day 6s

      It appears my reply to you has disappeared into the great disqus world of the unknown.

      I have been reading a little fiction of late as Dewflirt put me on to a author that I have found enjoyable to read. I have a list of recommended reads which seem to be getting longer, even though I have been reading more than ever.

      I was over visiting Docoman the other day and downloaded a few David Attenborough films. He seems to be able to capture all ages with his style and subject matter.

      I've just sold my Fatboy so I'm not riding at the moment however I will be getting another in the not to distant future...

    10. G’day mate

      I’m pretty sure it’s because it was off topic, as is this one yours and it will be deleted as well. We’ve gotta play by the rules my friend. Philosophy and happiness are huge subjects; maybe you should’ve said that my philosophy of happiness is going round to Doco’s on my Harley to watch a doco about nature starring the Divine David Attenborough and reading recommended literature. You only had to add a little question about what happiness is and I don’t think it would get booted out. Give Doco my best wishes and a kick him up his backside. Tell him to checkout Schapelle Corby at Mamma Mia.

      What is happiness? One man’s meat is another man’s poison, you know, like Harleys ;)

      Nietzsche said “Man does not strive for happiness- only the Englishman does that.”

      Get “Frozen Planet” if you can. Highly recommended. Made me very happy and philosophical.

    11. i appreciate the effort to stay on topic. on a side note jacknax comment is nowhere to be found it wasn't any of us mods who deleted it as far as i cam tell

    12. Thanks for the heads up Edge.

    13. Cheers edge I wasn't implying it was you guys as I've been having trouble with a number of my posts of late and at time even logging on to disqus

    14. i never thought you were implying anything. disqus can be annoying sometimes

  39. Arthur Schopenhauer is full of himself. Will to life my @SS! Men don't go after women for that. They only care for sex and sex alone. They could careless for children or the consequence of it. When women start thinking of this and see that men can't truly's only for sex because they are primitive sex maniacs incapable of true love... than the better off we women would be. At the end marriage and sh!T wouldn't occur and divorce would never happen either. We would all be truly happy because we finally accept the truth. I accept the truth. True love it only given to one through parents or from female partners but males outside of family are retards when it comes to romantic love or love to another human being outside of his family. If I want to experience romantic love ... true love... I get a wife not a husband. Women are more capable of giving that passionate deep love because their instinct to bond deeply to receive help with raising children. Men don't need this because they don't care for children...its only for sex, not the consequence. Now there are exceptions to men... but these men are deemed by society as effeminate thus these men ill behave to fit some BS mold or model of society deems as masculine. Thus why even these sensitive men ought to be viewed suspiciously so we women don't fall into depression from the typical male response. That's why I never cried over love or lost of it...its the conclusion that is expected. Crying only shows that the typical primitive male actions are shocking...they aren't. Again, the more women view men as primitive sh!the@ds the better they will be off.

    BTW I've been with the same man for over 8yrs. I accept his genders' and sexs' primitive brain (men incapable of thinking/using their upper brain and rely solely their primitive brains) that's why our relationship is calm and resting. Luckily for me his brain is that of a penguin, faithful beyond words, at times shadowing and prefers that we do everything together (he is an extreme case of going against beyond the different direction of what men are in his area... he says such life style is too demanding & too much of a headache). Some women may find it annoying but I like how we feed each other and at times we do let the other take a break (he works on his car and I work on my look or art). Ultimately though we accept each others flaws and achievements (naturally or earned) equally that's why our relationship works .

    1. I don't agree personally.

    2. double post..

    3. You've got your information all wrong, women are the ones not capable of romantic love at least not in a true selfless sense like men are. Real romantic love only exsists in men because its required for men to be willing to die for women and children inorder for the species to survive and its required for women and children to run away or hide for the species to survive so men and women have evolved different brains and bodys. women brains/bodies are suited to bear children and secure resources for them selves and their offspring by manipulating and controling men while simotaneously seeking the best male for the job, they also move on after the loss of their partner much much faster then men do, women are also by nature hypergamous. Men by contrast for survival of the species are required to be essentially considered disposable. so you can see very plainly how women are by nature selfish when it comes to men and men are selfless when it comes to women and since true love is selfless women simply do not have the same capacity for romantic love as men do and i would point out the love a man can have for his wife and child is the same love a woman feels for her children.

    4. Thank you so much for at least attempting to set this obvious lunatic straight on an item or two... She's been on here for months yammering on about what bloody insensitive, st*pid pr1cks men are, lumping us all together without any hope of redemption from HER, and I, for one, grew bored of it a long time ago. In fact, I don't even bother with her vitriol (and vanity), anymore*, but after I read your first sentence, and then saw who it was in response to, I thought I would lend you a little moral support. Don't be surprised, however, if you don't get any feedback from her; if she suspects you're a man, you're not likely to be worthy of anything but her complete contempt. And trying to reason with such hate would very likely be a waste of effort, anyway.

      I also find myself in agreement with the gist of your statement, just to be clear on that, too. I have heard this anthropological argument before, and I think, generally speaking, it does sum up the the different approaches to a relationship between the sexes fairly accurately.

      * That is, reading it... I never did even bother trying to have a discussion with her about some of her misconceptions, except for once (7 months ago, and very POLITELY), but never got any reply.

    5. Just be thankful we don't eat you once we've had our wicked way with you, we have more subtle ways of bleeding you dry ;)

    6. I thought this one might get a response from you, and that's all I have to say about that! :):(:):(:)

    7. Well I'd hate to disappoint, we women should, after all, be all things to all men. That is all I have to say about that :):(:):(:)

      Last word ;)

    8. You've upset me quite extensively! The reason is that I always enjoy reading your posts and will often flick down to see your name but this post is bizarrely hypocritical. You've got my grrrrr going! You condemn a woman for 'lumping' all men together in a bad light and then offer a narrow negative stereotype lumping all women together. I've replied to Miniup!

      So men are more self sacrificing of their lives for a child than a woman, assuming she makes it through childbirth in the first place. In some places 1 in 28 women don't. The knowledge that women will die for their babies has been used against the gender. Some excellent examples include the Japanese and Germans throwing a baby/child off a cliff or bridge and then laughing as the woman jumps after it. Knowing full well the baby is probably dead and she'll die as well, but still she goes and men laugh. This technique of torture is not used against men - because many wouldn't jump.

      Men die in war because men start war. Traditionally it was thought of as honorable in some way to win your stripes in conflict. The World Wars changed that view. Defending your homeland is a different issue that volunteering for death if the need arises. Of course many men have died for children or women, think of the Titanic which was culturally driven by the gentleman ethic. Then think about the recent Italian cruise disaster where men kicked old women and children in the head to get into a life raft ahead of them. Men haven't changed just cultural norms have. However Miniup and you were talking about probability. The probability of one gender behaving in a certain way. And in probability a woman from the moment she conceives is much more likely to volunteer to die for her child than a man will. If she wants a man to protect her considering that at the back of her own head her life is on the line, somehow that makes her an unemotional cow? Dude you've left me depressed, reasoning people are so few and far between...

    9. Now, don't put words in my mouth! I've never called women unemotional cows in my entire life, not once. I love and respect women, and children, beyond all words to tell it, and my proof is: I've been married to only one woman in my life, for 17 years now, and have done my share to help her raise four kids, two of them my step-children... As a matter of fact, as of the last nearly 4 years, she's been the one working, while I've been the one doing the childcare, the schoolwork, the housework, and a majority of the cooking. I didn't intend to upset anyone with my comment, which, I admit, I put up in anger over seeing another example of outright male-bashing from this completely presumptuous woman, who ladles out just about every stereotype and insult of men fashionable and imaginable, without doing any of her own reasoning, as far as I'm concerned. know... if some of what she says could apply to the father of my step-children, it sure as hell doesn't apply to ME, and many, many other men, and I get a little offended. I mean, calling her man as dumb and docile (in effect) as a penguin, and that's his suitable role in their relationship, are you serious? Why don't you have anything to say about that?! But let me clarify something: The part of Miniup's post I essentially agree with, that I believe is generally correct, is that women take economic considerations into account in their romances, and that men do not, and I'm not backing down from that. They do TEND to, because it's wise for them to do so, if they plan to have children. Hell, every man on earth knows it, however much some women (or men) might want to deny it. There's nothing WRONG with it, either, and most men are aware of that, as well. And that, in essence, is ALL I really agree with in his post, though I didn't make that clear enough.

    10. Men are notoriously disinterested in romantic love and often indulge for one end: to get laid. Many men admit this. Men don't see the world the way women do and often don't exist in a paradigm of emotional angst, which many women do. Your argument implies all women are cold hearted gold diggers. Are you for real? Both sexes have good and bad members. But it should be noted that far fewer women control men, than are controlled by men. Women are more frequently abused on every level including sexual. Women can be needy of a man's attention (classically a romantic attention). Yet this neediness increases in women but decreases in men especially after marriage when a great number of women start reporting abusive and controlling behaviour by their male partners. This is because if you want the psychology women like intimacy and men like sex and struggle with emotional intimacy.

      Back to the control: take pretty much the entire planet as it stands today for example. Women have few rights, and in many places cannot even leave the house without written permission from a man. Society is a reflection of the relationship between men and women: it's men using women not the other way around. If a women stays with a man, it's often for the children. But this is to avoid the emotional kick kids get through divorce in most cases. It's not because women don't feel emotion but because they do that they stay. It's true that women bounce back after a relationship faster than men, mostly. But you argue this somehow proves they're cold and emotionless. What hypocrisy! They bounce back because they handle it in different ways. Women use close girlfriends and a willingness to approach emotional devastation head on, which is the only way to get through it. Men bury their heads in emotional sand and often have few close buddies to confide in. Meaning they heal slower.

      What you sound more than anything is bitter. And I mean seriously mean and twisted bitter. The men I've met who expound your views, on digging, loved a girl and she didn't return their feelings so all women are cold and without a 'capacity for romantic love'. Your voice is one of rejection not objectivity. All I can hope is that you grow beyond the negative stereotyping you expound here, as I've seen men do and move into positive happy relationships from the negative ones they had, and appreciate that despite gender trending we are all different.

    11. I will admit that i was being far more inflammatory then was called for, mostly because my emotions got the best of me when i read another posters comments, i have already stated this in another post.

      yes it go's without saying both parties have good and bad etc etc.. If you think women dont control men en-mass then you have a very poor understanding of the power women hold in this world. They hold nearly all of it! we live in a feminist state, nearly every facet of our society favors women, education, courts, welfare, social programs, the media, the army, the work force, amateur sports, reproductive rights, and the list could go on, it is every where!!! Im not saying this to be contradictory or to pick an argument i really do mean it, if a person is willing to earnestly seek the truth the facts are readily available.

      your also wrong about abuse, in one sided abusive relationships between romantic partners it is far more often the woman who is the abuser even when comparing physical abuse only, they are also more likely to use things like weapons, poison or attack while the man is asleep.

      i have no first hand knowledge of these remote places you speak of where women are so abused but im willing to bet men have it just as bad. So i will speak of western culture where i live and know what im talking about, here women have rights and men have responsibilities.

      let me ask you this, what happens when an abused man leaves his abusive partner and seeks refuge at an abuse shelter?

  40. Nice collection of ideas that shaped today's philosophy....Great Video....

  41. Schopenhauer was a a little off on the reasons for choosing a mate but not too far off. Men look for a mate who can reproduce with ease -- youthful, a great rack, a wide pelvis, etc. Here's what psychologists have found that women look for.

    "Women across all continents, all political systems (including socialist and communism), all racial groups, all religious groups, and all systems of mating (from intense polygyny to presumptive monogamy) place more value than men on good financial prospects." (Buss: "The Evolution of Desire.")

    Schopenhauer was an older, wealthy, powerful celebrity. I don't know about chins but if he wanted to "propagate the species" he could simply have bought a suite of rooms in a fancy hotel in Las Vegas and been surrounded by young, blond sex slaves.

    1. To an extent that maybe true, but there are humans that go beyond that, maybe because we're more intelligently advanced than the primitive idiots around us. I for one don't look for financial stability in my mate...more stability in his philosophy, beliefs and especially his mind. Money comes and goes, just like looks do, but stupidity...well.. like Ron White stated in many of his comedy shows... stupidity is forever. These studies that people make don't take into consideration and simply ignore those of us who don't look for appearance or resources for a mate. We look for qualities that are beyond the superficial surface which is extremely precarious. We are a rare bunch, but we do exist and these studies on human behavior always seem to overlook us so for me I ignore those studies just like they ignore my man and myself. :) These studies are irrelevant and suspicious and ought to not be taken all that seriously.

      By the way, my life is an example that those studies are hogwash. I've been with a man for over 8yrs now and never once have I ever though, "Gesh wizz... he is financially stable." In fact he was the total opposite. When we first went out together the first five yrs, he lived literally in a rat infested crack house... I lived and still do, a house. He moved though and its not a bad place... not a house yet but still. It was way better than the rat house he had. I could still remember him sleeping beside me with a broom in his hand killing off the rats as they jumped towards us while we were sleeping. If that's not the deepest form of love than I don't know what is. Most women in my societal status would of left such a man, but I prefer a faithful, patience, respectful, kind hearted man over an overzealous, loud mouth, unfaithful jerk with cash on him. I'm still with him because he is such a dignified individual regardless of his financial position... he was poor than got a job and became middle class and now he is without a job again and is poor. I blame it on the superficial minds of our culture and society, since he is an obese man. He has qualities that men of his generation and even across the ages have. I'm normal weight...really thin by most peoples' standards in my current area, so its not like I couldn't easily attract a CEO or wealthy man of a good stable income, to me money comes and goes, but faithfulness, good nature, love of family and stability of the home those are what I look for because those are the rarest and well... whatever is unusual and different in nature's view always gets rewarded and reproduces healthy offspring. :) Besides it is a fact that men with money think they can get anything they want when in reality they all end up with women who really don't love them and would careless if they died over or get really ill...after all he only cared for sex and appearance so why should these women care for such a primitive sh!t he@d. :) I cared for my man in his sickest days and that's why we're still together for so many yrs. We don't have children because we want to earn enough to purchase a larger home and property, so that we may adopt as many children as we can and raise them as our own. Shared goals far extends looks and money. ... and these studies on human procreation always seem to surpass that. Not all human are barbaric, primitive lowly creature sh!the@ds.

    2. "These studies are irrelevant and suspicious and ought to not be taken all that seriously.

      By the way, my life is an example that those studies are hogwash.

      Most women in my societal status would of left such a man, but I prefer a faithful, patience, respectful, kind hearted man over an overzealous, loud mouth, unfaithful jerk with cash on him."

      Looks like a contradiction and your ranting also seems to display mpd or you're simply deluded and live in some fantasy world with a fictional boyfriend. It seems that the shallow premises for most human relationships ring true to you, so you overcompensate your fictional life to portray yourself as some sort of philanthropist. The way you describe your relationship it sounds more like a charity event with you boosting your PR as a noble benefactor.

      Maybe most men are a$$sholes and most women are golddiggers, but there's nothing quite worse than being dishonest about who you really are.

  42. joking! I'm feigning hubris.

  43. Veni, Vidi, ...Verbum sap or if you will allow, sapienti sat[is] est. Of course, I'm a clever Irish wolfhound.

    Nothing one hasn't known before, in this series. Please move along now.

  44. What a shame that Epicurus has come to be associated with elitist consumption. Epicurean delights? WTF?

    1. I agree. I view Epicurus as a simple individual who enjoyed simple living. I view myself as a true Epicurean... and I would like my man to think of himself as one too. I love eating simple foods, which is why I switched to a more vegetarian diet. My body has thanked me since the transfer of heavy meats to light dainty crackers w/ cheese. I find tremendous joy in a small bowl of broccoli soup that others would see as just an appetizer... I get such a satisfaction on such things. That and small tiny piece of mousse chocolate cake and hour later. :) oh and a quiet moment with my dog outside while eating small bites of mix nuts and berries. Oooo... nothing bets that moment of silence while brushing my dogs' fur or finishing up a fan fic that has been worked on for days. ^_^ The rich have no idea what they're missing with the simple joys of life.

  45. Did anyone else notice, of all those he confronted with the question of Philosophy, it was a "Priest that ran from the truth?" Indeed, a "Priest" should-have been the the FIRST ONE, to give his stupid, uneducated, and self-pious beliefs on the subject, by whipping-out his Holy Bible. Just goes to PROVE, that the Priesthood, is exactly the WRONG place to go for the truth. It would be like seeking truth, by asking our Congress!

    1. Sir, that priesthood that you so blithley dismiss includes such "priests" as Jesus and The Dalai Lama.

  46. loved! especially the first few...

  47. Great documentary series.

  48. Now that's one worth seeing!

  49. didn't dig on schopenhauer segment at all

  50. I really like this! It opened my eyes to a lot of things, and its quite inspiring. :)

  51. Love Alain de Botton, a man that speaks my thoughts!

  52. Judging by the title I thought this documentary might be average... But after seeing even a few minutes of it I changed my mind. I think it's really good :)

  53. it says it wont play in england :(

    1. You must move to Canada then.

    2. If only i could ;-P

  54. grasping for the meaning of life using philosophical-speculative analysis of western philosophy creates an aching void.

    1. what do you suggest using?

    2. i take comfort in that darkness

  55. Absolutely loved it!

  56. Thank you for the links, really inspiring! :-)

    It's interesting to realize that nowadays Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism and Yoga, are in vogue as a way to happiness (and I myself study this knowledge), while most people (me included) are not aware that Western philosophy also addressed the issue of happiness, or "the meaning of life" if you will. All of them seem to agree that it needs to start simply with awareness, consciousness.

    As other people have mentioned here, of course the series has a finite number of episodes, and thus misses some important thinkers (Sartre and the whole existentialism, for instance), and maybe some points are under-explored. Nevertheless, it was performed in such a way that the message is clear, and it provokes the interested viewer to look further for the work of these and other great philosophers.

  57. "... it's time to decide- the meekness of love or the power of pride." - an agnostic philosopher that knows that "meekness" is not translatable as "social awkwardness". i found nietzche's view on the beatitudes superficial as explained by alain. still a thought-provoking video.

  58. Outstanding! If you get nothing from this then you deserve the life you get.

  59. alain, you mean sub-conscious not unconscious in the shop on love episode. a philosopher who doesn't know the difference?

  60. Wow lovely documentary....each and every part of this documenatry is worth putting a thought....My personal favorite was one with HARDSHIP......Excellent work done by all these philosophers and HATS OFF to Alain de Boton for putting their work together

  61. These kind of documentaries help me to understand what people thought thousands of years ago and it seems they had the same questions i do...thanks

  62. How can any documentary on philosophy completely bypass Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas?

  63. Wonderful series! I enjoyed these very much.

  64. Happiness is so transient..

  65. EXCUSE ME! De Bottom made a film about a great guy -Sokrates- and forget to even mention what this special guy found in his life as a foundation to his "philosophy". "KNOW THYSELF." becouse if u know yourself you wiil know GOD !!

    1. That's because God is man's mistake - man's creation and man will only create a god that resembles himself so "KNOW THYSELF." becouse if u know yourself you wiil know GOD is entirely correct !

    2. once worked in WA , 30 yrs ago. their local uni. had (has) 'know thy self' me. put the in cement, out bush. my claim to fame. nobody know where the datum ist.

  66. re nathan s199 's comment infra

    ....try Judaism or Islam in comparison then---if you think the Christ thing is too 'weird'

    One can investigate Philosophy and Christianity or any 'tradition' -if you have enough neural connections.

    Obviously Nathan s199 -is anacephalous-

    and yes that is un Christian of me-to say -

    ; if I still was a practising follower etc etc --la di dum!!!!

  67. I love Alain De Botton. He also narrates and stars in another awesome documentary called Status Anxiety. I highly recommend watching that after watching this. Truly inspiring documentaries. ^_^ Thanks for posting this series.

    1. What does it mean...this word..inspiring? what is it to inspire? Shalom !

    2. Thanks a lot for the link!

  68. Hum .... I am thinking!

    Good stuff.

  69. Some good stuff. It has inspired me to read up on some of these guys.

  70. I find the documentary really worth seeing. A human being is from their nature a philosopher and their obligation is searching for the truth. Although "Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully (1 Cor 13:12)" , thanks to faith and philosophy we can to some extent cater our spiritual needs and sketch answers for different questions.. I'm a Christian and philosophy enables me to look on my faith more profound, as well as discern some universal truths, written in the hear of people. Returning to the documentary, according to me the presenter was very nice and what I appreciate - he doesn't impose any point of view, but he just investigates thoroughly ideas of great philosophers. And I could see a passion in his eyes while he was talking with people.

    1. how does philosophy and christianity coincide? philosophy is so open minded whereas christianity is narrow minded. the more i learnt about philosophy the more i disregarded christianity or any religon as plausible. if philosophy teaches you truth and understanding doesn't christianity teach you to be deluded and to not question? philosophy opens a mind up to many possibilities whereas christianity teaches you to believe in one and to take a leap of faith which is very much restricting.

    2. Perhaps conservative Christianity but certainly not liberal Christian thinking. I recommend you check out Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Robin Meyers and many others who offer a truly intellectual approach to Christianity that can certainly count as 'philosophy' in your definition of it.

    3. Leap of faith if all your understanding lacks a sincere hunger for that which changes is the organ of knowledge..
      do you think there are secretive forces in the world which minipulate money,military, religion,philosophies
      yet if possible ( yet is not,due to proudfull philosophies) would not the other golden rule ( he that has the gold rules)
      solve most of if not all the problems of mankind Being the opposite of Pride as solomon said,only by pride comes contention but with the well advised Wisdom ,as in intelligent men solve problems ,wise ones prevent them.
      If you cared to read the script. you would see that the vast majority of christians end up with rebellious lucifer matt. 13 jesus said unless you understand this first parable in which i am the sower,then you willnot understand any...which in the
      remaining 6,all but 2 out 7 show the corruption of the church which BOTH mat.13 and the letters written to the 7
      churches in rev.2,3 the same 2 out of 7 are in scyn.and historically verifiable mat.13:47 our internet church of laiodica rev 3:16 ps.jn.3:16 is extremely quoated truthfullyp
      the script says SHOULD not perish., w=6 in hebrew rev.13:16

    4. In case you don't know rev.13:18,if you check any barcode on earth you SHOULD notice each begins is
      divided by and ends with the number 6 which you check into it triplicate 6 is a highly INTRIGUING # dealing with the tree of knowledge BEING an alternate capstone then the one mentioned in psm.118:22 as prepared for in isaiah 19:19.....the great piramid symbolic on man aquiring the ultimate image since
      his like ness is perfect GENE1:26 the tree of life everlasting would have lead him into the partnership
      of the INFINITUDE OF INFINITY,instead of the black hole of Shelf-Centeredness.......To BE or not to be that is the question of eternity of our only possession,the
      soverign WILL Being given you and me

    5. So faith is an organ of knowledge ie. if you beleive or have faith or intimate knowledge that life evolved by water falling on a rock durning an electrical storm that is based on your knowledge although to my extremely limited understanding it requires both hardware and software to enact the one Billion nano machines of ir-reducible complexity found in one human cell,from where did this intelligence Come? yet 50 years would not scrach the surface of all the info. encoded in the first verse gene 1:1or2,3...Math professor stan tennon,agnostic,cal tech.8 hour seminar on gen.1:1
      "the geometric metaphors of life".....Personally greatly treasure atheist pat condell here is a man with clear conviction speaking the truth in love of his fellowman
      to wake up,or arise from hypocriticy...back to #'s triple 6 encodec in triple six chp.of scrip verse 11,twelve+ twentyseven are most illuminating clarifing lucifer in isaiah 14 and ezk.28 see The Infinity Code one among
      infinite lucifers # is three five nine found in first mention of script. in 359 th. chp.verse one Being
      1 chron.21:1And Satan stood up against Israel and proveked David to number Israel,...ofcourse chp.counting startes at gen.1 like 359th day of present
      calander Santa appears tying scritp together ..... each of Gods names has numbers ,961 encoded in this # shows the infinite PASSION of compassion

    6. tracy fyler

      please show me where in science this is stated "
      if you beleive or have faith or intimate knowledge that life evolved by water falling on a rock durning an electrical storm" and what it has to do with evolution? also presenting a false dichotomy of this solution or god is dishonest. finally do you have any actual demonstrable proof for your god?

  71. I'm sure I've seen the presenter on Star Trek Next Generation.

  72. The presenter is slightly too preachy for my taste, but this is a great documentary.

  73. Well now it's easy to answer why so few are true individuals; trauma-based full spectrum control from without (the psychopolitical environment) intergenerationally. It is well to remember also, that few had or have the privilege of philosophising, as they are kept to the grindstone in order that their 'betters' may indulge in such fancies.

    1. It might be the reason the people are kept working so hard. In the U.S., the expectation is to work until you're mentally exhausted. When you aren't working, you're too tired to think of revolutionary thoughts. Works nicely for the military-industrial complex. But who knows how long the human spirit will consent to be held down?

    2. I believe that's right, same reason we must be constantly entertained and amused.

  74. Suddenly i realize that Fight Club is just modern Epicurus

    1. u r right!!!!!

  75. Excellent! I am really glad I took the time to watch this. They offer very practical and acheivable advice, something philosophy rarely does. I really liked Allan as well, the guy that was narrating. He seems both intelligent and approachable. When he returned to his own college to interview the head master there was such a huge difference in him and his way thinking and his old head master's way of thinking- well, it was refreshing to see him stand up to the guy so to speak. It must have taken real courage to speak truth to power as they say, especially since he knew the Head master would disagree with him. But he did such a good job, he was respectful but still made his point. I think he made the old stuffy head master look pompas and horribly out of touch with common day realities. Good for him!! And good for me that I found this useful tool, thank you Vlatko once again.

  76. Just Awesome.

  77. Thanks for all this info!! I wish Alan De Botton had more shows.

    1. He is also the host of a documentary called "The Perfect Home". Also very interesting and one you might like if you enjoyed this one.

      Be sure to check out his production company, Seneca Productions, there are quite a few interesting projects there.

    2. Thank you!! I will be sure to check it out!!

    3. another with Alain DeBotton is Status Anxiety

    4. Thanks for letting me know Ann! I love the way Alain presents his documentaries and have watched these ones ad nauseam and now look forward to watching Status Anxiety.

  78. great stuff! thanks for sharing!

  79. WOW! Great documentary. Really gets you thinking :)

  80. Wow I love the documentary thanx to topdocumentaryfilm for this wonderful docu :)

  81. Unfortunately that which does not kill us, can make us either stronger or weaker according to the type of illness (and the person we are). It is true that our real strenght of character comes out when we have to overcome difficulty, but why do we need to put ourselves through unnecessary suffering? Isn't just the knowledge of our limited time on earth enough suffering?

    1. I don't think so, I believe suffering is the way you deal with failure, his view was the greatness of hardship comes in how it is met, not to put one through unnecessary suffering but look at things differently to get the fruits of hardship and over come suffering.

    2. if we look around today we see a common theme amognst all people from different backgrounds and places. that is i believe people are in search of validation which makes themselves some what significant. the human experience does not need to embrace validation to be significant. it is only thinking which makes someone think something is right or wrong. therefore if we weren't products of our environment we wouldnt search for validation even at the most dire times.

  82. you

  83. thank you for making this... seriously thank

  84. wow... montaigne was so ahead of his times! or even our times...

  85. Atta boy Sten! Keep reading, analyzing and studying and I promise in a decade or so you'll be as mad as I.

    What I find astonishing here, are the largely 'sane' writers who have made some rather interesting and balanced comments!

    For the 'thinker' outside of 'academia', the world seems a hostile and irrational place, mentally undernourished.

  86. This website is great, im glad i found it.
    Thank you very much for all the work put together.
    I will spend many hrs here, and end up a wiser man :)

  87. good stuff!

  88. wow I don't think I've seen any other documentary that gets me to thinking so much. Great film.

  89. Politics is nothing more than rhetoric. Sophist-icated debate that has little, (if any), meaning. Agree totally with ruserious about ideology and 'education'.

    "Words don't stand for things they stand IN for them"

  90. Where is Jiddu Krishnamurti????

    1. gone to jesus.

      but yes i agree :-)

  91. ruserious great post

  92. @ thomas....the point of accepting things that go wrong is that you have no control over those things. its wrong to have expectations because random things happen all the time. another thing to think about is everything thats happened has caused this to happen. it couldnt have happened any other way. one last thing that might help you is regreting what has already happened doesnt improve or help anything. the key word being regret. why have regret in your life if you dont have to? instead try thinking of learning from mistakes and accepting that people make mistakes. noone is perfect. accepting that is accepting being human. regreting the past is pointless

  93. Happiness isn't enough for me. I demand euphoria!

  94. Well the label democracy is very different from democracy itself. Lying to enter the iraq war (by both the bush and blair administration) plus the mainstream media's slavish bias toward those in power created the ignorance that swayed public opinion. (This was also helped by pre-existing racist attitudes that see all Arabs and Muslims as monolithic and supportive of terrorism.) And let's also be clear: the decision to go to war wasn't a democratic decision by the majority of either population. Actually in the US it was an executive decision by a man who 'won' the election by stealing it! Also, BTW, democracy doesn't only mean simple majority decisions by the population of a nation-state.

    Among other things, democracy attempts to solve the problem of how we determine which views are ignorant or intelligent, better or worse. Intelligent people disagree all the time, after all, and construct sophisticated arguments that are opposed to one another. Who gets to win in these situations? Right now the answer is the small group of people with the most money and power generally do. And that's not democracy -- it's oligarchy.

    1. It's true, and noticing that 4 aspects you raise -lying intro to war, media assistance, Arabs etc & terrorism, are all linked with the misuse of human language. As is the problematic 'democracy'! You're right I'm sure that these fateful, possibly terminal decisions are made by a small minority. Anyway, majority rule in this scenario would be direct rule by media on any major question.
      But the people hold considerable power, clearly, otherwise why would media and pentagon, whoever, expend such huge energy on monitoring and managing mass opinion...they worry about it.
      Someone said in 1945 that, in the life cycle of a modern state monarchy gives way to democracy which becomes fascism.Interesting

  95. @jla

    No not warped, just facts. Bush and Blair used democracy to go to war. They used the label to rally the mob, then sold it to just the right amount of citizens to seal the deal. This is democracy in action. All it takes is 51% ignorance to push around 49% intelligence!

  96. I really liked the Epicurus episode. The admonition against materialism is an obvious point but still important and worth repeating. The view that, beyond the ability to meet ones basic needs, further income or wealth bears no relationship to happiness has been born out by research.

    I also like the idea that you should surround yourself with friends-- this is something that I've attempted to do by living in a communal house. I would say, however, that closer and more interdependent relationships with friends requires skills in the area of problem solving, patience and conflict resolution. But these things can be learned and it's totally worth it to do so.

    About the anger episode: I think that a commenter above made a good point about this philosophy seeming to be status quo supporting. Of course even in the most just possible world I would expect that there would be unavoidable challenges. But I tend to think that the process of getting there can be much more frustrating/demoralizing than being blissfully unaware of injustice and just adjusting to one's personal difficulties. Thinking that one has the potential role to play in changing the world for the better one's happiness seems tied to the success or failure of that project. A project which is almost totally out of one's hands.

    My identity is hopelessly entwined with the idea of making a positive difference in the world. So I've given this some thought and the best I can come up with is this: the hope that I can base my happiness on being engaged with creating a vision of this world and relatively detached from the highly likely negative or indeterminate results,

    Last thing: what the hell are you talking about 'Ron Paul.' Bush and Blair's commitment to democracy is bull shit. *If* sincere they have a seriously warped idea of what that means. The idea that what they were about, or indeed what the british or US government are about is 'democracy' is simply propaganda.

  97. @RUSerious

    Exactly. When I hear somewhat intelligent people say, "What about Democracy?" I just have to laugh. Bush Jr. and Tony Blair loved Democracy so much they sent a bunch of their most fascist young men to kill in the name of.

    Marxism and Democracy are the biggest sham of our lifetime, and I believe Socrates would agree....

  98. Philosophically speaking, all govts. can be said to serve two major purposes. First, to promote through education and other propaganda mediums the STATE IDEOLOGY. Second, to preserve the status quo to its last dying gasp. .

    In the USA, this "ideology" is a monstrous corporate oligarchy sustained & thriving on relatively small,[safely distant], manageable wars. This condition has long moved beyond the political stage, into an immovable, relentless economic policy, which benefits all global associates.
    It is now indellibly fixed in the 'common' psyche as obligatory patriotism and other euphemistic rubbish.

    Under the pretext of terroristic threats the govt. position seems cleverly unassailable, with assent from an emasculated press. This is your democracy...utterly doomed to fail, absent an intelligent electorate.

  99. I thought these were great! They scream Libertarianism and anti-government!

    It's funny how the world's governments try and force people to think the opposite or use some of these issues against people to control them.

    For example:

    Part 1 - Governments want sheep.

    Part 2 - Governments want to prevent groups, reign in freedom, and control thought.

    Part 3 - Governments, especially Socialists, want a "perfect" world, where all the children are fed, the world is sterilized, and freedom is trampled on. No politician will ever look their citizens in their eyes and say, "Sorry, get over it!" No, they'd much rather make some laws and transfer wealth....

    Part 4 - Governments use self-esteem as a weapon of control.

    Part 5 - Governments use marriage as weapon of control.

    Part 6 - This part was my favorite because if this isn't anti-Socialism I don't know what is. And I quote, "The religion of comfort. People who are addicted to comfort are small, mean people--like shy deer who hide in the forest." This can be said about anyone who takes unemployment benefits from the government or, worse, who do things like have more children out of wedlock just so the government will write more checks so they can stay home.

    Governments are to Philosophy, as water is to fire. And democracy and Marxism are some of the worst perpetrators.

  100. You might say that Schopenhauer epitomised the solitary philosopher, [like the rejected Nietzsche],by never marrying. We might expect him to have harboured considerable ambivalence toward women when one considers his Mother threw him down a stairway as a young man of 23 ? He never saw her after that despicable violent act, and that IS bitterly telling.

    'Wise men become philosophers ordinary men take wives'.[hjf]

  101. Michel de Montaigne: Wow! How have I never heard of him before! (Who's at the helm of this titanic education/ military/ media conglomerate?)
    He was even better than Schopenhauer on Love. (And as far a Schopenhauer goes on love, sure his writing was apparently great, but of what consequence can that be if he'd never been tested in love? Does that show an inherent weakness in "philosophy" in that just any old Joe can spout off on any topic and sound like an authority? [sorry Joe])

  102. Hi Thomas. I completely agree with your view, although it is generally not accepted by our culture. However, I would be less dogmatic myself. These things are not empirical.

  103. Great Documentaries pleasure to watch them and very enlightening.

  104. Very interesting. Especially Socrates and Seneca.
    Thanks Vlatko. :)

  105. Didn't Shakespeare sum up all this confusion of opinions?

    "All the world is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy to those that feel"? [paraphrased]

    "It is not depravity which afflicts the human race so much as a general lack of intelligence". -Agnes Repplier-

    Good,evil,beautiful,ugly,etc.,human society is all these and more. Our perceptions of it are fixated on one or more realities by our intelligence, [knowledge & awareness!] and the attitudes we form from our life experiences.

  106. @ lilis
    ignorance is bliss

  107. The more I think, the more unhappy I become. How's that?

  108. So, it is the responsibility of every human being to think. to be a thinking being, stop following any belief passively. In my country Indonesia, I've seen too few people dare to do so. They cannot see the world with their own eyes. In fact, number does not matter much in this society. The majority is not always the winner. In Indonesia, the truth lies on who speaks the loudest. The majority fall prey to the voice of the loudest because thinking is not common here. This gives the power to the loudest to dictate the way we talk, behave, and worse the way we think. I'm sick of it.

  109. The purpose of life is to experience it. Living life one finds that time is impartial for the future is predicted by the present and the foundations of the past are laid down by the present. So one's state of mind creates an individuals reality. If your mindset is that of being positive but realistic you should be on the happy side of the spectrum. Expecting misfortune sets you up for deep unresolved issues which will never be resolved if one doesn't have the time to think about his life.

  110. That was really interesting - watched them all!

  111. Interesting perspective. Stoic, Spartan, and sensible-but what good did it do him? His mind drove him batty. For him it became a handicap.
    Damn, I think I know that game!
    Philosophers have created more mischief for themselves, and others, than they ever resolved.

  112. Son todo puto son

  113. shaguna, not really.

  114. can somebody please enlighten me on this..

  115. according to Montaigne a happy man is without any thought whereas Socrates emphasized more on logical thinking...aren't these statements contradictory???

  116. Hatter, I agree and thought it was a good touch to the film.

  117. at the end of the "Schopenhauer on Love (Part 5)" he was very good to asking her for a dinner

  118. A wonderful series. I hope he makes more and includes Camus and Marx and addresses the notion of authenticity. His down-to-earth communication of these peoples' ideas has profoundly changed my outlook. Oh, and his twitter updates are well worth subscribing to as his insightful wit is, again, wonderful.

  119. This is amazing... simply love it

    the combination of these videos along with eckhart tolle, tao ti chin, the alchemist, and etc, will open ones mind into a new world,,,

    if anyone is interested to join me in taking the next step in human awareness and evolution i would love to share info and beside i can always get some help to spread the joy through my blog.

    if you are willing to share good info such as a great philosophy or wisdom book, article, author or anything along these line, i would be happy to post it on my blog..

    its up to us


  120. Some of you havn't got the clue or the true meaning of the series.
    This guy Allan is making the true revolution by understaning the philsophy phenomemenon from quite different perspectiv. Why some of you people are making too dificult for yourself when everything's so basic.
    READ the title of the serie well in first place, and then go through the thinkers mentioned above, THEY ARE TALKING OF ONE THING, THE PROBLEMS. All those thinkers, they seam kinda negative, now thanks to Allan we see a great deal of the positivity in their works. That's the catch! I love his interpretation of their works, it makes sence.
    Thomas, do yourself favour, do not be too hard on yourself and others. This isn't any congeres or whatever and I do believe that most of us are not qualified in this field.
    I never ment to write any coment, but I felt pushed by Thomas, sorry Thomas, you got it all wrong also the power of the mind, if you think you can heel the sick by the power of the mind then do so, you'll be doing a nobel thing, but I would advice to hear first what ill one got to say about its illnes. It works two ways, you and the universe, and not only
    you. There's no freedom if the freedom is not coplet, and that includes you and the world around you. If all of us were Socrates, which Socrates would be point it out? Would he still walk around and questioning?
    Do never create the shade to those who are looking at the sun.
    Thanks to Allan I'm embracing the philosopfy for the first time in my life. The great minds we need indeed, alas not everyone one is of such brand. Accept it! Let us try the wisdom for a start.
    Love and respect to you all.
    Pozdrav osobi iz Mostara.

  121. Jo McKay, that is the whole point here. Everyone has to find their own answers.

  122. Thank you for these illuminating documentaries (a mini-series well worth submission to PBS, Junior High Schools - is that not when we begin again to ask why?,and perhaps to all introductory Social Science classes). Excellent intro to some of the ancient philosophers. I would love to see more...many more. I also am amused/intrigued by the followup comments; some of you I would like to get to know better; I love a good argument/discussion - tho' clean and kind is my preference - I have seen enough of brutality and blood in the worlds of 'business' and 'politics'. That said I would only like to add, for edification, that I have found and felt and heard wisdom from: children,the quiet, nature, 'fat'& 'thin' people, the dying and the newborn, princes(princesses) & paupers, even comedians and other fools, and many others to name just a few; I have found for myself that the secret to discovering these bright colored jewels, is to listen, and to listen, with more than my ears.

  123. I wonder what Nietze'e opinion on antidepressant & antianxiety medications would be...

  124. thank you!It has been a a great pleasure to watch this.
    It's very inspiring to me.

  125. What about the homosexuals? 'love' is not just the desire to procreate surely?

  126. LMFAO, of course I speak only from my own experience; but one of the things I learned is that it is alright to be angry and not to fight it. I just allow myself to be angry and then get on with my life. Too many people harbor it and keep the anger within and it grows if you do. I used to have a badminton racket that I would whack my bed when I was very angry. I don't get that angry anymore. Still, I do get angry and usually can write it out now and also also walk it off. It is also alright to love and cherish certain people and not to expect to have love return although it is nice when it is.

    It is one thing when my cat gets in my lap and starts to purr than when my grandson tells me over the phone that he misses me or a significant other says he is a better person when I am around. They are all different and yet they aren't. If someone tries to hurt any of them I will get very angry and will react because my impulse to protect is in action. Usually, it is not. Road rage is one of those things that we need to just pull off the road and buy a cup of coffee and breath a bit because we really are not in danger unless we engage in the game with the other driver. These emotions are natural. It is what we do with them that makes the difference. We can't shut them off as we do a faucet. We can hurt ourselves if we do.

    Some people feel some emotions more than others. I rarely feel jealousy as it isn't in my nature. I am not possessive either although I feel some of these emotions from time to time but not to any extent. As for love, that is a big one for me as well as compassion. My favorite character in Winnie the Pooh is Tiger because I get excited about things. I get so excited I jump up and down like Tiger does. I like that though. Some people get mad at me for it. Oh well...

    I am a bit long-winded but I am saying our emotions are not to be repressed but some particular emotions are more important to each of us than others but we all feel them. Nothing can stop them unless you are dead or have a mental condition.

  127. I see your point and I realise this is something you have studied or thought about.

    But imo there is a difference between anger, jealousy and hate, love.

    Simply because you can make yourself angry by just thinking bad thoughts while you can fall in love by just think or believe "lovely" thoughts.

    I think the fundamental difference is what triggs the emotions and there are alot of different triggers.

    Of course some feeling triggers are related to the expectations that's why I enjoy episode about anger.

    I agree with Einstein, they can't be destroyed but to some extent imo they can be avoided as can energy.

  128. After watching the series & reading all the comments, I couldn't just leave without expressing my utmost gratitude to this amazing website & to all the intelligent people who have contributed their respectful opinions.

    @Alex B.
    Your comments were exceptionally wonderful.

  129. LMFAO, all emotions are normal and as far as nature is concern cannot be avoided. There is no planning that can be done except to plan to feel the anger in an appropriate way. Not to feel emotions is to go into the world that many people with frozen feelings have such as those with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) have or those with no emotions such as sociopaths. Neither one of these conditions are to be envied. Even those with autism have emotions.

    People such as the Dali Lama who have developed a high level of consciousness still feel anger but meditate and release it in this way. I know when I am angry and I allow myself to be thus,I understand why I am and then with meditation and other measures I don't hold those levels of anger for over a short period of time. That is the only planning that I do. This is the ideal but I am trying very hard not to form attachments to this anger. Attachments are what gives me sorrow and unhappiness.

    Anger and other emotions are energy and as Einstein says they cannot be destroyed. They don't go away either. Lust and pain is derived from conditions in the body and is dependent on the body. They are different.

  130. Interesting points Lori.

    I understand the argument and to some extent agree. It of course depends on how you define love.

    A simple one is that you care (and think) more about the person you love more if something negative happens to the person you love more then the one you love less.

    In this case the loved people (or hated) probably are in some kind relationship with one that loves them. There is a strong bound between relationships and love imo, that I think everyone agrees. Imo thats not the case when it comes to example anger (frustration) or self-confidence.

    For me there is a big difference between anger (or frustration) and love. I believe you can avoid anger by planing and be mentally calm etc. but you can't control love in the same way since to avoid love you have to change your practical life and "in information flow". Maybe it's just me but I really think love, compassion, hate differs a lot from feelings like lust or pain and therefore, in some way, didn't fit in these series cause I can't draw any practical conclusions.


  131. LMFAO, there is different kinds of love. When you love your child it is one sided for the most part as the child grows to be a man or woman and has a life of his or her own and never looks back at you if you raised the child right.

    You can love and admire people you never met as well. I am a teacher and some students do stay in my memory and in my heart. I still love some of my old teachers that I have not seen for many years.

    I realize that you are relating what is true for you and not is true for the general person but surely there has been people in your life through the years that fall in the love category that you love but don't expect love in return.

    The same goes for the other emotions. I was surprised when I first was a social worker the amount of hate and anger that many people hold for others who are living their lives blissfully unaware of those feelings. I am reminded of what Joseph Campbell said that every action we take has the potential of being evil to someone. Some people hold that anger and hate all of their lives. The same goes for fear. Some children fear their parents all of their lives long after their parents' death.

    I think emotions are hard to control because of the presence of the ego which is an artificial construct within most of us. The only ones not enslaved by the ego are those who have been enlightened to the extent that it has been recognized that it is not real.

  132. Great great series, the one about love did not address me though. I didn't watch all of it but imo that feeling is very hard to repel nor attract. A big problem with the "control" or understanding of love compared to the other subjects in these series, imo, is that love involves other people in a different way.

    Love for me, in some sense, is a game were the ball is passed between the individuals.

    About the anger part it seems that some of you misunderstood the message. If you can't control something then there's no reason getting upset about it. Simple.

  133. "Regarding Nietzsche, where there seems to be a roaring debate"

    hehehe... that's exactly what Nietz would like... to have people ROARING about his philosophy like fanatic christians do about religion.

  134. "You have to remove YOURSELF and what YOU believe when INTERPRETING these philosophers and their metaphors."

    is that possible???????????

  135. @ Thomas

    In order to use Seneca’s philosophy about anger we have to acknowledge that we are reasonable beings and can therefore understand what things we can change and what things we can't, or even what things we desire to change. The example about the servant could be handled in different ways the wealthy roman man can either accept the mistakes of his servants and forgive them, he can change the servants who do not live up to his expectations or he can punish the ones who don't. But feeling rage about his surrounding is absurd and will damage his happiness, he'll simply have to accept reality, expect error and be cool about it. However as a reasonable being he can decide what things can be changed and change them. I can find executing the servant to be a rational act since the next servant will be more careful about his job, the wealthy roman fault didn't lie in him punishing the servant but in him experiencing rage when his world didn't function perfectly. To be creators and solvers of problems is developing, useful and noble. But to stubbornly pretend that our world should function perfectly or perfectly to our own standard is absurd. So when something goes wrong don't be surprised, simply accept that matters out of your control has created this problem and then find a solution.

    Personally I don't rage too much about the end result of the faults of nature and society I simply calmly loath, despise and hate whatever’s responsible and of course try to be solutionary oriented.

    Know what you regard as a problem, know who’s responsible and know how you can solve it. But please realize that problems exist and will pester your existence so don't be surprised when they do.

    Separate anger, rage, hate and adrenaline and everything will be much more understandable.

  136. I have to say I watch a lot of documentaries on this site but this little serious is something I have truly enjoyed and remembered. As Max said much to think about and further explore and further explore! I particularly like the episode about Epicurus. Great stuff!

  137. So much has been already been said above so I'll keep it simple.

    I really enjoyed this series. Informative and rousing. Much to think about, much to further explore.

    Mr Boton, great job old bean! Highly recommended.

  138. This was awesome. I think the key to these documentaries is the first instalment: "an unanalysed life is not worth living."

    Then we are provided with constrasting ideas on different topics. I'm really happy he didn't adopt a pedestrian approach and try and provide a holistic view on happiness as that would be flawed as it often comes down to personal experience. You should have low expectations at times but at other times suffer in order to get what you want.

    It isn't cohesive as a whole but that's up to us and that's why Boton always seems to appeal to more intelligent people.

    At this moment, the best for me was about love. A recent experience demonstrated love to be (at least for me) like a flood that cleans you and makes you feel complete. But you do get a whole heap of rats coming out of the sewers. It's a mixed bag and it often makes no sense. Great to hear the thoughts of someone on the same wavelength but much further ahead of me.

    I'm sure most of you will benefit from this as much as me, at that is certainly my hope.


  139. Must watch.

  140. great series

  141. Well, we are coming from different perspectives. You want to change the world and I don't think I can. Both of us write books so we have that in common. I hope your book will be available once I am in the USA. The only problem is I don't know when that will be. I will be glad to read your book. I have no idea when my next one will be out either. It is a book of short stories and is my first one. I normally write novels.

  142. Lori,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. You seem very calm and collected. I'm clearly excited for the future and see great things coming our way. I just want to change the world in whatever positive way I can. I've been told I'm too ambitious for my own good, and I recognize that. Maybe you'll get a chance to read my book when I'm done.

  143. As usual, you bring up many points to ponder. I like what the science of Physics is doing with the theory of everything although many in the science do not agree it exist. I think it does and tend to agree with the String Theory and the many dimensions aspect. I realize that Stephen Hawkin does not. I find that the dynamic and argument very exciting. I bring it up because of the potential the String Theory has for other human disciplines including philosophy and literature (especially science fiction). It also brings many aspects of change to some of the arguments you brought up.

    I am a writer by trade so do have a degree of isolation and in fact it is a necessity. Capitalism is not something I pay much attention to although it is part of the way many countries including the one I live in work. I have the advantage of living in a country in which English is not the prevalent language so much of what happens around me escapes my understanding as I don't speak it. I am leaving so don't want to learn Korean as it is not spoken in the places that I want to go. Capitalism is very strong here. W.Somerset Maugham said that the writer is the last free human being in society and I believe it. We are not subject to many of the pressures that many people are subject to and use many of the things that happen to us as material for our work.

    I have worked for many years non-stop to get to this place in my life and still had the time to reflect on the importance of life and how we live it. I have noticed that few people have stopped their busy lives to simply take a breath here and there and ask themselves questions as the philosophers have in these documentaries of what is it that is important in life and what is not. However, many do. I have always found that refreshing.

    I have never felt a slave to the system and that can be my experience with the different movements that happened in the 1950's, 1960's and especially the ideas that were generated by the Beat Generation. I have been lucky enough to have been a reader all of my life and to have lived near decent libraries. That alone has created my sense of freedom although it has been relative. I have never not read even in Korea where getting books in English is very difficult.

    As for current times, I see great changes but not so different as in past times. As the Buddha Gautama said: "Everything changes". I don't see economies collapsing. I just see change as I always have. Much of it has been good for me. Nothing stays the same and I suspect things will change yet again. Who knows what is on the horizon? Life is impermanent anyhow.

    As I mentioned above, your posts certainly are thought provoking. Thank you for the chance to respond to some of your interesting comments.

  144. Lori,

    Compassion is a great word, and I don't know why I didn't use it. I do feel that love is natural, but we humans have this lesson in freewill, and have the choice to love or not (to go with the flow of nature or not).

    I like to think in Fractal Patterns (As above so below), which is why I bring personal philosophies to the collective. Everything is subject to natural laws, like gravity, from the smallest atom to the largest star. Philosophy is somewhat a law, because it attempts to create balance, for without balance, the universe could not exist. It's not that I want to tell everyone how to behave, but I think it's our society (the system) that holds people back from true human experience. We're all too busy with living (survival) that we don't take the time to sit and reflect. This could be why many Taoists live in seclusion, away from the society that generates great havoc and chaos.

    Think of Epicurus and his philosophy on friends, freedom, and thought. For those of us fortunate enough to live a comfortable life with plenty of time to obtain the three steps to happiness, we see no reason why others cannot experience life as we do. But when you step outside yourself, and your own little world, see that friends, freedom, and thought are contradictions to how our capitalistic system is run. This is why many people cannot be happy today, because they are all caught in the machine that drives them further and further away from true happiness.

    I want everyone to be happy, because some part of me will only feel completely happy when others are. I feel compassion for the world, and not just my immediate family or circle of friends. Let's look at why friends, freedom, and thought live outside our social system.

    In capitalism, we do things for profit, because profit is a means of survival. It's called the "profit motive." What happens here, is friends are very hard to come by (true friends) because everyone is out there trying to make a buck. As well, we are all so busy making dollars, that we seldom have time for friends and enjoy their company. Freedom is an illusion today because, in order to survive within the system, we must conform. We must do what our boss, our police, and our government tell us. We submit to the system and must work very hard to make an honest living. You are also limited by what jobs are available, your ability to contribute, and your education... sometimes even your sex or ethnicity. What freedom do we actually have here? The freedom to make money is not freedom, because it's either make money or fail. Lastly, "thought" is one of the last things on our minds. We're so bombarded with advertisements and television, that any free time we do get is devoted back to the media. We are all overworked and over stimulated to the point where we often don't know who we really are anymore. We look to celebrities for how to be and what to think. This is not to say that ALL of us conform or are hypnotized so easily, but to some degree, we are all slaves to the system.

    So how can we expect the everyday person to take the time to reflect, find freedom and friends in modern society? We can't. I can't. I can be concerned for my own happiness and find some comfort within the limitations of our society, but happiness, at least for me, is larger than myself. The biggest one, that non of us can escape, is freedom, or lack there of, today. No matter how much I fill my life with friends and thought, I will always be a slave to this system until the system is redesigned for our benefit, for our happiness.

    This is the time for great change because we are seeing the economy collapse, governments and corporations fail miserably, and the old paradigms are falling as well. When the system does collapse, and it is time to redesign a new system, we should keep these philosophies of Epicurus and others in mind. I don't wish the devastation to follow a great financial and political collapse, but it would seem too many of us are too accustomed to our way of life, and won't let it go until it fails them. There is a design in the making already, one that serves the well-being of all life, and nothing like you've ever imagined before... but I'll leave that to another discussion.

  145. I tend to believe it is compassion that we feel towards one another and other forms of life. Love is a difficult emotion to understand or at least to me. Passion comes in and runs a muck with us when we are young and that sort of love seldom lasts and it can metamorphose into something more lasting or disappear completely. Some people can't feel it at all. It is the same for compassion.

    I love my children and because of that I love other children although not in the same way and the same goes for my grandchildren. Some of my best friends are not humans at all. Then there is the love of one's Higher Power or whatever one defines in that area. That can be very strong or for some members of different religions non-existent.

    Again, I tend to think in individualistic terms and not as the society as a whole. Maybe it is my sex. Maybe it is because I am a bit of a Taoist. I don't know. Some of the philosophers in the documentaries thought of the world as a whole. That would put me outside of that way of thinking. I can't see how anyone can think of what groups of people should do. That seems a bit controlling to me. I also don't think of religion as a whole either as they are man-made(sex intended).

    I have lived outside the main stream of human kind for so long that I like it here. Many of the values and concepts that you mention in your post I have observed in others but not in my own self or not of late. As for being naturally designed to love, I don't know. I think compassion is more of my emotion of choice and I think it is the one that is flows in the Tao. Whether anyone else knows it or not, I don't know. Good heavens there is so much I don't know. I like that too.

  146. I really enjoyed all these philosophy episodes. They definitely get you hooked on these ideas. I live in thought and often contemplate things. It's good to see what people of the past have pondered.

    The only one I think I have an issue with is the "love" one. I think it's beyond a simple "will to life." It doesn't explain homosexuality or love for another species. I think love is more of a teaching mechanism than a biological mechanism. I think to love is to accept unconditionally. This is something that is inherent in animals, but we seem to have the capacity to explore this emotion and even reject it. With animals, they seem to be so loving of one another and themselves, like what Montaigne observed in his philosophy on self-esteem. But I think that they don't fully recognize their love because it is so natural to them.

    We humans on the other hand, have a lesson to learn in love. It doesn't appear to be so embedded in our natural behaviors. Love seems to be something we aspire to, not because it will make us happy, but because love is natural, and we are on a journey of getting back in touch with nature. Love may not be something that is within us, but more around us, embedded in the fabric of natural law. This gets a little spiritual, but that's fine, and I think that could be what "religion" and spirituality of the past were trying to teach us. However, I think we are well aware that religion as we know it today does very little to teach us anything about love and acceptance, with all the wars and all.

    Reaching a state of love is to be in complete harmony and acceptance with your companion, and in extension, the universe. Today, it would seem humanity has "fallen from grace" and has forgotten how to love and accept nature. I am not religious at all, but I am observant of myself and the people around me. I have no solid beliefs, for there seems to be a flow of truth that is ever changing. The universe is in continuous flow, and I think to remain rigid in beliefs is to reject nature. So, what I think I'm getting at, is that love is something to be attained and experienced, for the sake of learning a valuable lesson in acceptance, and to bring us back to a state of harmony with nature. When we all learn to love each other, I don't imagine we will have the problems we do today.

    ...I would add by explaining how we've created this society, this capitalistic system that isolates us from nature, making it very difficult to know what love truly is. That it why my first post asked if we could apply the philosophical guide to happiness to redesigning our society. Our behaviors are not completely biological in nature. Such a sophisticated system such as nature wouldn't generate something that was bent on global and self destruction. We're strongly influenced by our surroundings, and as to completely reject nature, we have created a society that exemplifies greed, power, corruption, envy, violence, and all the things that nature is without. I think the only thing that has kept us alive this long, behaving the way we do, is our LOVE for one another and nature. Even if many of us don't see it, it's there, and many would argue we are naturally selfish and greedy, but I think we are more naturally designed to love. We just haven't realized it yet.

  147. Alex B. impressive post about all of our own posts. I am curious if you have viewed the documentaries and what your reaction would be on those films.

  148. Just finished reading all the posts.

    It would seem that the ANGER episode and Nietzshe are the highly debated ones. Rick summed up Seneca very well. I might just add that some people seem to be taking philosophy so literally. Like with the analogy of the dog tied to a bike, some understand it as, "Well, we are all slaves then and we should all just bend over and conform to society's problems." And others think that we should just do away with metaphor altogether. Metaphor helps us look at something from another perspective, and the more metaphors, I say the better. You have to remove yourself and what you believe when interpreting these philosophers and their metaphors.

    Back to Seneca on Anger, I think it's not so much pessimistic as it is a state of mental preparedness and living without EXPECTATION. That is a word I would have used. It says a lot more than being a pessimist, because the people have their own "expectations" of what they think pessimism is, thus making them angry. I would also add to the dog metaphor by asking you to consider that the dog is not always tied up. The dog is free most of the time, but when there are points in his/her life when it would seem events have the dog "tied up," at the moment, it's best not to resist the inevitable forces that are out of your control. This does not mean give in, it simply means to control how you react. The best way, I find, to remain calm in any situation is to have no expectations of the outcome. By this state of conscious uncertainty, you open yourself to both all possibilities and none. That includes both positive and negative outcomes. So, to live without expectations is to prepare for the worst while also being hopeful, but not to the point where you are anticipating either outcome.

    Regarding Nietzsche, where there seems to be a roaring debate, I think it is important not to attach or detach yourself from Nietzsche himself. He is no person to be worshiped or loathed. To do either is to misinterpret the message altogether. Too many people put their faith in other people or figures expecting perfection. Nietzsche was not perfect, and you should never hold anyone to those overburdening expectations. His message is that of rising to the challenge. You know, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?" It's the message that's important, and it seems that people are all too eager to point out flaws or devalue one's character. We do become stronger when faced with obstacles, only when we choose to meet those obstacles. Religions such as Christianity would have you worship a figure and tell you "Everything will be alright in the end." Nietzsche wants you to stop ignoring problems and simply covering them with a nice warm blanket of comfort. Call him "crazy" or call him "unfit" to teach us about how to face your greatest challenges, but he is not a teacher because he has greater knowledge. He is the epitome of what he teaches. Through his life experiences, we, the students, can see into his life and try to make sense of it, and thus learn from it. Even through his faults can we learn something. It is not the Teacher that gives us wisdom, but the relationship you have with that teacher that you learn something of real value. You get out of learning, what you put in, and philosophy is not about finding the wisest instructor to spell everything out for you, it's about discovering philosophy through observation and analysis. Even the most hated of men have something to teach us. So whether you agree with Nietzsche or not, you have learned something from him.

  149. Alex B, your questions are awesome. I think we should all ask ourselves questions all of the time and never, never accept other people's realities as the truth. We as human beings underestimate our ability to analyze the lives we live.

    It is important to understand the different philosophies and consider what they have that is good for each of our lives and throw out what is not any good. I don't know about the redesign of the society and culture as a whole. I have never thought in those terms. What I do endeavor to consider is the individual life and the only one I can think about is my own.

    Good post.

  150. Philosophy is awesome! That's not being too humble, is it? I think too many people underestimate their ability to analyze and speak as profoundly as these greats did. Imagine if we ALL spent just a little time to ask ourselves such questions.

    I have yet to read all the posts, but I will when I'm done with this message.

    When we can understand these philosophies, do you think that we can apply them to our own personal lives AS WELL AS into the redesign of our society?

  151. LOL Great set of Docs - Oncore

  152. Quark, you are entirely welcome. I live in a country where English is not the primary language. I think you are doing great.

  153. @ Epicurus and Lori:

    Congrats! You gave a fine example on 'how to be humble without giving yourself away'.
    (sorry if my english isn't so good, but it ain't my mother language).
    Anyway, it was a matter of class (charm?) to read your arguments.
    Thank you both for the delitfull and open-minded debate!


  154. Epicurus, you are welcome.

  155. Lori, i obviously was only directing that at the people who the comments are relevant to. not you. i saw all your posts.

    i just didnt want to say to so and so and so and so.

    but i should have thanked your for your comments anyways and now i can. Thank you.

  156. Epicurus, don't paint all of us with the same paint brush ok? You made several assertions that is not true of me. First, I thought your sources were sufficient and even thanked you for your post. Second, I objected to anyone stating that I "worship" anything and said so. Third, I think Nietzsche is well worth reading further. I even wrote that his search for the truth was admirable. In no way did I make any statement that Nietzsche would be sympathetic to the Nazi point of view and even the documentary covered that misconception.

    Sometimes, some people don't have their facts straight or have some sort of hidden agenda that makes them attack particular writers and thinkers. Having said that, I appreciate your anger for those people but before you attack everyone with one outburst of anger consider the source of your anger. I was not the only one who was not part of those irrational statements about Nietzsche.

  157. are you all completely blind to the fact that i sourced what i copy pasted. and you can go there and check.

    IF wikipedia uses the same source that is a good thing.

    by calling down wikipedia you are making an ad hominem fallacy by saying anything from there is false. that is silly. i could direct you to many pages and challenge you to find a flaw, however that is not the point here.

    yes you can hold differing opinions on the mans work but an opinion means nothing. knowledge is much better.

    see what i did up there was state my points THEN back them up with scholars work. that is how real research is done. but thats fine you have opinions and ignore any points if they come from somewhere you have been told to distrust (rather than actually check the point).

    and in no way am i "another Nietzsche" fact my name is Epicurus, whose philosophy differs enough from Nietzsche that you would think you would realize i dont worship him. i just dont like armchair philosophers spreading nonsense about a great thinker who has had enough nonsense spread (mostly because of his sister and her Nazi views).

  158. this series is great.
    i love the three f's concept, although i think it should be 4.. freedom, friends, philosophy and fu... oops...out of respect for vlatko and moderators, i'll leave it at that.

  159. Zack Ransom, I am a positive sort of person and what little I have read and seen of Nietzsche I, too, see a strong thread of a positive outlook in it. But then I see the search for truth as a positive one and certainly not a negative one. Nietzsche sought truth and I don't think anyone can dispute that.

    You asked a good question. I would be interested in the answer myself.

  160. Hey Don Kelvin,

    I'm curious about what part of Nietzsche's writings make you come to the conclusion that he had "A sick mind, unwilling or unable to accept responsibility for a fatal error made in contravention of a code of morals he disdained..."?
    I only ask because to me Nietzsche's works are truly positive. I interested in hearing the other side ...

  161. Your original statement sounded condescending. I entered into this discussion as one who wanted to explore and consider not one who had already made up her mind. I stated that in my earlier posts.

  162. Sorry, Lori, I was wrong. I certainly never meant to offend, if my little parable trod into belief systems and that's a no no, a philosophical discussion could prove a bit sticky.
    But no matter, I could've just said, "Don't believe everything you read." T.S. Eliot said " Oh Lord, deliver me from the man of excellent intention and impure heart,for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."
    Now THAT is naughty.

  163. Don Kelvin, I apologize then. Your other statement was out of line.

  164. Oh, Lori! I said , and thought I'd made it clear: I LOVE T.S. Eliot! He's a true favorite and his quote deserves to be known correctly, that's all. People are always using that misquotation and I just submitted the real thing, right from his own work. And "Old Possum" was a term of endearment given him by none other than the loveable madman Ezra Pound. Eliot used it often, even in the "Practical Cats" storybook (that became the musical "Cats" wonderful stuff!

  165. @ Don Kelvin,

    You certainly won my heart :-)!

  166. T.S. Elliot was a great poet and I am sorry you can't enjoy his work. That is your decision. As for my spiritual life, that is none of your business.

  167. Oh, what the heck, the actual quote was "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different."
    I love Eliot. Old Possum/Practical Cats is my fave.

  168. i mean eLiot

  169. ...don't get me started on T.S.Elliot.....

  170. Oh, and Lori, Friedrich Nietzsche himself altered his name,on more than one occasion, using the spelling I did, thank you.

  171. Lori, seek with caution the gods you worship, for they may be stone or wood rather than everlasting spirit.

  172. “Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal.“ T.S.Eliot

    As long as the sources of where Epicurus was getting his ideas on Nietzsche was included, so what?

  173. I mean, Epicurus copy-pasted his post from Wikipedia.

  174. Talking about copy - paste! He copied everything he said from Wikipedia :-))). Just found the exactly the same text there.

  175. I am not as knowledgeable about Nietzsche as Epicurus is and I have to thank him for his post on his ideas ( and his sources). That was the basic reason I watched the documentary on Nietzsche in the first place because I wanted a good overview of his work so I can read him further.

    Documentaries are good introductions to philosophers if one is not fortunate in taking classes in the universities so that would help in establishing some road maps in certain writers and thinkers. My education is in English Literature and the only exposure that I have was in Western Civilization.

    In my life, I have run across people who are bitter and anti-intellectual with their approach to to human knowledge. Luckily, I do not share this approach and even think spelling people's names is very important. I get tickled pink that there is enough of an interest that these documentaries were made and that this web site exist.

    Thank you Epicurus for writing.

  176. Glad to know I can amaze you. You're probably amazed quite easily. Youare another a Neitzsche worshipper, it seems. We differ in opinion regarding both the history and worth of Neetski. Write me off, Mr.(or Ms.) epicuris, as I'm not impressed with your quick rundown of Neitzsche, nor your copy and paste skills. If an opinion differs from yours, you might think twice before immediately writing it off as ignorance.Some just don't hold the same opinion as you, and we are entitled to it, thank you.

  177. sorry, SOURCE

    Lampert, Nietzsche's Teaching, 17–18; Heidegger, "The Word of Nietzsche."

    Heidegger, "The Word of Nietzsche," 61.
    Lampert, Nietzsche's Teaching, 18.

  178. @Don your ignorance of Nietzsche and his works amaze me.

    to think his syphilis was caught in a brothel is just a rumor made by his detractors. in actuality he caught it in a hospital during the war which he fought in.

    his writings on christianity and christian morals are more a reflection on the dehumanizing aspect and the lack of responsibility that comes along with that delusion.

    n Nietzsche's view, recent developments in modern science and the increasing secularization of European society had effectively 'killed' the Christian God, who had served as the basis for meaning and value in the West for more than a thousand years.

    Nietzsche claimed the death of God would eventually lead to the loss of any universal perspective on things, and along with it any coherent sense of objective truth.[50] Instead we would retain only our own multiple, diverse, and fluid perspectives. This view has acquired the name "perspectivism".

    Developing this idea, Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, therein introducing the concept of a value-creating Übermensch. According to one scholar of Nietzsche, Lampert, "the death of God must be followed by a long twilight of piety and nihilism. […] Zarathustra's gift of the superman is given to a mankind not aware of the problem to which the superman is the solution."

  179. Sorry Lori, his name is too long to bother with typing the whole damn thing, thus, nietz, we pronounce it "neech" like cheech of cheech and chong. "nietzs' was meant to convey the possessive. Who'd you think it was in ref to, (ref means "reference")somebody else?

  180. Great. I liked the Nietzsche one the best. I did agree with thomas on some points but not all.

  181. Wow,I've been saying this for years about 'intelligence'...nice to see it put well together on here.

  182. Don Kelvin, Who is Nietzs? Nietz?

  183. That Nietzsche is seriously considered a philosopher is more a reflection on the modern culture than value for money upon purchasing a book of his writings. A sick mind, unwilling or unable to accept responsibility for a fatal error made in contravention of a code of morals he disdained thrust him into a life of resentful negativity. Nietzs' misconception of the teachings of Christ (as opposed to the dogma of religion)are echoed in postmodernism, popular atheism and even in the narration of the doc. Nietz only wished that what did not kill him made him stronger, but it never did. That philosophy rightfully belongs to Dr. Viktor Frankl, a man who did not get his lessons from a whorehouse.

  184. The view of Seneca and anger management will raise the hackles of those who are continually surprised by life not going according to their own personal plans. Absolute brilliance. However, to "accept with pessimism" might not be the best way to view Seneca and his philosophy. One might well say "be reasonable, there are forces at work greater than my own puny desire".

  185. I must admit that I haven't seen this doco, but I have read the book on which it was based (Alain de Botton's "Constellations of Philosophy). There are a few things I'd like to mention.

    First, to those that say that Nietzsche was too pessimistic and his ideas shouldn't been taken seriously, please PLEASE read some of his works. Read it with an open mind. Nietzsche, in my mind, is one of the most positive, life affirming philosophy's out there. It is true that he accepts life as suffering and turmoil. But he asks us to find joy in suffering. To experience a greater joy beyond the material. To find value in the abyss.

    As for Seneca, I must admit that I don't know much about him. However, to me what he is really saying is don't concern yourself with things that are completely outside of your control. You can't stop the bus from being late; you can't prevent a servant from dropping breaking the glass; Nothing you can do will take all the bad drivers off the road, so don't worry about it. In essence he was the first to say s**t happens. As for the dog metaphor, bkap pointed out that if the bike was hijaked from the dogs master, the dog would fight against being lead by the ill-doer. This may be so, but he would still end up being lead by the thief whether the dog liked it or not. In the end the dogs anger amounts to nothing. Though I believe this is taking the metaphor too far, and distracts from Seneca's true philosophy which, to me, is almost quasi-taoist.

    This brings me to my final point. While I appreciate this doco (or in my case the book) is a good intro to philosophical thoughts, I hope people don't take this as a 'literal' guide to happiness. I find it interesting that this group of doco's is subject to so much praise, whereas "evaluating life" (also on this site) has been criticised. The difference I think lies in the former giving answers to life, whereas the latter seems to be provoking us to ask questions. I sincerely hope that those that found this interesting will go delve into philosophy further, and not take these ideas as "gospel" (so to speak). Philosophy, at its roots, is about independent thought.

  186. I think those who are complaining about the anger episode have really missed the point and are only taking the dog metaphor at face value. The theory of that episode is that anger is the inevitable result of unreasonable expectations going unfulfilled. If you expect things like "glasses never break" or "buses are always on time," then you are condemning yourself to disappointment. It is only a matter of time. The objective of Seneca's pessimism is not to have a bad attitude but to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the possibility of the unexpected and undesirable. By expecting glass to break or your bus to be late, you won't be surprised and angry when it happens. If you have properly prepared for it, then it won't be unexpected and it won't screw up your day and you won't need to get angry. The woman's morning pessimism was cheesy. I don't think it really embodied Seneca's philosophy and I think anyone who judges Seneca's idea by that one example or even the dog example is shredding a straw man. You're missing the mark. Botton even says explicitly that Seneca would not have us expect that things will never go according to plan, but just to more seriously allow for when they don't.

    The dog on a leash metaphor was not meant as an attack on our personal freedom nor to suggest that we should blunder through life like mindless lemmings. It was to illustrate Seneca's idea that that there are things outside our control and we would be happier to acknowledge and accept that fact rather than convince ourselves that money, power, prestige, technology, or anything else will enable us to control that which we cannot influence. A dog on a leash can either struggle until it is worn out or it can go where it is led and enjoy the journey. It's not about freedom or living in the moment or being a dumb dog. You can live your life in fear, panic, and anger, or you can prepare yourself as best you can and then accept that there are elements beyond your control which will free you from worrying about them and allow you to enjoy the rest of your life.

    Participation in civilization requires a certain degree of conformity. I know that's a tough pill for many Americans to swallow, but even the members of a society that bills itself as the most free, individual, and nonconformist must still conform to a bare minimum of social and legal standards. In other words, you can change the nature of your leash, but there's always going to be a damned leash.

    Seneca was basically one of the first to write a book proclaiming "Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes."

  187. All and all, all of these films are greatly oversimplified in their presentation of the different philosophers' ideas; however the films are a great introduction to them and Alain De Botton is to be commended for them. They are accurate and serve as a way to get these important ideas out there.

    Thank you....

  188. I greatly enjoyed watching all of these a day before the fourth of july and have been inspired to think and write all the more. I don't believe that analyzing the way these documentaries were presented is a good way of taking home the messages within these videos. It was very informative and very heart warming.

  189. I also don't find the "anger" episode very fulfilling. Thomas brings up the issue about the dog being tied to a bike, and being content about being tied to a bike instead of being able to run free. Dogs, as animals do, tend to live in the moment, and being content about being tied to a bike would not make a dog angry because they may not be thinking about how their life would be better if they were free. I am not saying dogs do not think for themselves and will continue to follow who ever is the riding the bike. Thomas mentions sarcastically that if things go wrong with our corrupted society we should simply follow. Unfortunately that is true for some people who do live in the moment, but dogs are about more then just followers. If a stranger were to jump on to the bike and ride away as his owner is left watching, the dog would not just simply follow, he would do everything that is possible to try to get back to his owner instead of simply following. To the commenter "happiness", stating that to be happy with injustice, that would be the downfall of a man. Even like dogs we notice injustice and should do everything capable to prevent or undo it. you could not be more wrong stating that not trying to undo injustice would not make one happy. If you were to allow the injustice to carry on, you would live a life of shame and regret, compared to if you tried to prevent the injustice then I'm sure you would be somewhat more satisfied regardless of if you failed or succeeded. The episode shows that to think of all that could go wrong and believe it would happen, in order to live a happier life, this conflicts with my philosophy on life (as we all have/should have our own philosophy of life). To live that type of life is to give up on hope, because once we lose hope, it is true, we are able to accept anything that we may not wish upon ourselves. To fuel a pessimistic life style, is the last thing we need, in a society that bombards us with our imperfections. As Thomas states the power of our mind and its ability to manifest what it believes, is very wrong and to believe in all the bad things that may go wrong, then what is the purpose of life? Yes it may make you happier since you are not surprised that what you what you thought may go wrong did go wrong, but is that type of happiness you are looking for? to being contempt about thing things that have gone wrong, and to accepting it, there is a simple solution if that is the philosophy one would like to follow, and that is to do nothing at all, so nothing can go wrong. I would like to think of myself as more of a sorta realist, by that I mean, yea I try to live in the moment when possible, I accept that things may not go according to plan, but to live a life waking up everyday and convincing yourself all the bad things that could go wrong will go wrong, will not make you happy, i'm sure of it. One also needs hope, because at some point of our lives that is all that we have that we can hold on to, and without that we would simply be accepting our downfall. If you were late for something, is it not possible to still enjoy the journey to your destination, instead of thinking the bus might crash, or the traffic will make me even more late, if your late, your late, there is nothing you can do about that, and being worried people are going to judge you based on that, is shallow of them, and should not affect how you life your life, after all who are they to look down at you. I try to absorb the beauty of life even if i;m late, it reassures me that there 'has' to be more to life then being late for a meeting/some destination that no would properly remember a month from then. I do not know how to lead a life of fulfillment, and I dont always follow what i wrote, and indeed sometimes I think about all that could go wrong, after all i;m a just a 20yr old student, below average at that, on the pursuit of happyness, and i would prefer criticisms on how to live a better life, after all is that now why we were all attracted to come this site "the guide to happiness"? which has yet to meet my expectations.

  190. It is interesting to note Montaigne's point on universities sometimes producing dolts and the similar point made in the film, "The Wizard of OZ."

    1.) The Straw Man wants a brain.

    2.) The Wizard gives him a certificate. A symbol for public recognition of intelligence.

    3.) The Wizard turns out to be a sham.

    I think Montaigne would have agreed with the film.

  191. let me say one thing

    this man is just another peasant wanting to be a philosopher.
    going to a party and asking people if they want to reproduce LOL

    they blink a few times laugh, then say not really a hahahahaaa

    just dont blame our stupid parents, for they not know what theyre doing.

    indeed - jesus.

  192. I have seen the first 2 docs and Im really fascinated about the power of philosophy... I believe that teaching philosophy and the power of thinking to people at young age (schools for example), could help the people to stop acting like sheep and think about their actions first and why they are going for shopping and/or follow influential people without having an opinion for themselfs...

  193. Very good to see Philosophy docs around; thank you for providing it for us to watch. This documentary was very good in terms of general overview of philosophies and philosophers but I wish there was more of it in greater detail... keep it up though!

  194. There is a lot of debate about the anger episode. And I must confess that I was, too, a bit confused. However, there are some valid points according to the scenario used. In the case of the angry driver, the approach of just giving in and not getting peeved at the rest of the drivers is probably the best. There is nothing we can do about that case and so we must just accept that fact and learn to not get angry about it. On the other hand, if you have unfairly been wronged by someone, say your employer has given a coworker less competent than you a promotion, then by all means anger is well-deserved and should be addressed not simply by ignoring the situation, but by confrontation. Sometimes anger is a good thing, a motivation to reach for something better, but we must be careful with when we decide to use it.

  195. I am SO ordering that book of Montaigne XD

  196. Alain de Botton's programe on Montaigne avocated an examinatiom on wisdom and set one as a test.

    Sitting such an exam without preparation might give some good intellectual answers on paper but is no guarantee of wisdom in life.

    A course on wisdom would be no guarantee either, but it would help in developing faculties.

    It is a pity that De Botton did not discuss the possibility and ideas for such a course rather than just showing a laboratory type random exam of unprepared students. (An academic type of magazine questionaire.)

    Wisdom, allowing for flashes of insight, needs preparation for long term use. If De Botton had not been fobbed off with a random exam and allowed to run a course, I
    suspect the results would have made his argument worthy for
    consideration by the academic establishment.

    Maybe not! Academic establishments are often conservative and selective in what they consider merits their attention, often for good reasons. Courses on wisdom, as anything else, would have an uphill struggle in getting approval. But they would be harder to ignore than ramdom exams: A bit of harmless fun though useful for media propaganda, and easily shelved.

    Is it wise to ignore the development of wisdom, or ignorant?

    Or maybe we should hope there will always be magicians to draw it out of a hat.

  197. Part 4 is damn good. Thx to the uploader for sharing this brilliant documentary with us =)

  198. Many many Thanks to Vlatko :)
    You make finding opinions and global knowledge so much easier and enjoyable to me.

  199. This is a wonderful brain food. Thanks Vlatko! I really can't thank you enough for posting all these wonderful documentaries.

  200. DancingSpiderman's final paragraph is a great one. There are many societies today where age comes before knowledge or skill and that Moral is a great one to keep in mind.

    Great series, shame about the video quality tho.

    But that's not the important thing here.

  201. Spidey

    Its all about sensation and the after effects. We often choose which sensations to hold onto and by a similar rational have the ability to remove and reject that which we do not require. so why not make positive self serving choices.

    I am not saying it is easy to do, but it is well within our grasp. Enjoy our friends, respect the strange and often confusing ideas of family members and debate on disagreements in a manner that reduces future resentment. In short make peace with the world on your own terms.

    "The Moral: DO NOT blindly assign an adult the status of an Elder merely because they are older than you."

    i agree, respect is difficult to earn and easy to destroy.

    Good luck on your journey.

  202. i gree with you, Epicurean_Logic.

    I was brought up in a culture where it was normal for parents to raise children in a hardened manner, the misguided purpose being to prepare for the emotional difficulties of existing in the "real world" of society outside of our people's land that we were supposed to all experience in adulthood.

    I now see all that neglect, lack of nurturing from our own parents and leaving this duty to grandparents, and just lack of decent parenting is in fact child abuse. It is the kind of child abuse in which an adult might spend decades trying to undo the damage, just to be able to get to the point of coping in a normal way with reality, in order to get comfortable with oneself, to thrive and contribute instead of merely surviving & consuming.

    The Moral: DO NOT blindly assign an adult the status of an Elder merely because they are older than you. They may have not earned the privilege of such an honor. There's much more that needs to be experienced, understood and mastered, in an adult life in order for that person to be worthy of being known as an Elder.

  203. Andy

    “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.”

    Much as i liked that part in Conan the barbarian, pushing the stone wheel round and round, fear, pain, suffering (sigh,the outpouring of emotion always gets me misty eyed). The forging of the Arnie-nator...

    Here comes the serious part. I do not agree with it in the Nietzschian sense. It implies that we should harden ourselves to the misfortunes of life rather than accepting that negative things out of our control do frequently occur and then moving forward with our lives,as far as is possible.

    For example a young person gets sexually abused. Is it better for that person to harden their outlook of the opposite sex? Carry the baggage around within themselves? suffer inner turmoil? change themselves as a reaction? Or should that person somehow try to come to terms with the horrible events and hopefully forge a meaningful healing and therapeutic relationship? change ourselves on our own terms.

    In my opinion the latter.

  204. Death means nothing to us,
    for what is disolved is without sensation,
    and what is without sensation means nothig to us.

    Epicurus 300 bc

  205. Taoist, sorry.

  206. There is a Toaist saying that goes "There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way." I think if we replace the word "way" with "guide", the same phrase applies nicely here as well.

    You've heard the saying "the ends justify the means"? I believe this to be patently untrue. You either do things in a Just and Merciful way or you don't, one can rationalize all they want reasons of pre-emptive strikes, or violent means of conflict resoloution but such methods are rarely just and never merciful. I do contend however that the means will define the end. If you meet the challenges of life with hate and anger you will be hateful and angry. If you try and meet life's twists and turns with joy and happiness you will be joyful and happy. This true for individuals or societies.

    Through the course of watching these documentaries I realized how much philosophy has been used, and very subtley at that, to engrain our acceptence of tyranny. Whether or not this is intentional on the part of the author or was edited at a later date I'll leave for the individual to decide. I'll cite "The Republic" as an obvious example.

  207. Wow Quark,

    You sound like george w bush!

  208. A man is being hunted by a bear; he runs as fast as he can, but the bear is getting closer; he runs faster; the bear is closer again; then the man reaches a cliff - it's the end of the line: either he gets esten by the bear or commits suicide, jumping to the cliff. In these fractions of a second, the man sees strawberries. He got down on his knees to eat some.

  209. @nonsense

    He went mad with syphilis, not from his own advice.

  210. If one sacrafices happiness then one sacrafices desires-if one sacrafices desire then one sacrafices values- if one sacrafice values then one sacrafices judgement- if one sacrafices judgement then one sacrafices mind

  211. Entertaining series accompanied by entertaining comments.

  212. Episode 6 makes no sense at all

    I'm no philosophy expert, but taking advice from a loon doesn't make much sense.

    It's like learning bodybuilding from a dystrophy sufferer.

    The guy went crazy following his own advice.

    So unless you're looking to achieve the same stellar results, why take him seriously?

  213. After watching the rest of this series, frankly, you could use many adjectives to describe what I feel right now... very compelling! This should be watched and studied by everyone. I will help spread and share these videos!

  214. Having only watched part 1 & 2 so far, felt compelled to first comment and say, this is just what I needed to see. Being "new to TDF" and a self-admitted Documentary Junkie, count on me spending far too much time here! To the creator &/or maintainer of this website, Thank you!!!

    @ Ali - I'd agree with your sentiment. Internet FTW!

  215. I'd like for this documentary series to be screened in class rooms far reaching; high schools to universities, community centers to online education, Netflix (esp. Instant) to Bittorrent. From retailers to bootleggers world wide. I LOVE this series and think EVERYONE should have the opportunity to take it seriously.

  216. Thanks a lot to De Botton for the upload. Watched all the video clips :) they are fascinating! Helped me to reflect on my personal life and also to rethink on certain radical statements like comparing pubs and Church!!
    btw this was quite interesting to know that people fall in love with their subconscious mind to have healthy well balanced offspring! No wonder why men fall in love with younger women ;)

  217. "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."

  218. Absolutely fascinating...

  219. Pubs and Church's, wow, that blew my mind.

  220. There Is a big difference between real happiness,and pleasure. Real happiness can be called Joy.. Joy Is something that comes to you naturally, through 'healthy' means. Pleasure Is very different, Its the false joy that material Items bring, as you mentioned 'eating fries all day'. That Is exactly pleasure, If you pay enough attention to peoples eating habits and how food has changed over the last few hundred years, Its obvious that todays food Is more like a drug, and actually Is.

    People seek comfort from food, to mask over their Insecurity. This Is not 'happiness' but Instead Is pleasure In Its simplest form.

    As John mentioned, the fulfillment of the full human function. It Is when we are not `full` 'fulfilled' that we seek out pleasure to fill the gap, In the form of food, money, cars, new stupid phones and I-pads.....
    which can never work.

    You say simple advice can not be true or untrue.
    I come from a Catholic backround...
    Plenty of simple advice there, I believe It to be untrue, with many others.

    You mentioned happiness coming from a sense of control,
    This Is just another way of wording that 'Void' I was talking about. By getting lost In pleasure, people get a sense of control back. Il give you an EXTREME example, A drug addict experiences a terrible void, and complete loss of control (In the negative way) ''The meaning of control'' as you put It would be to have a drink/joint/shoot up!
    This gives them emmense pleasure and they regain control.
    but Its only temporary.

    “Guess what” he says: You are mistaken if you think you will get that control. No one can. We are all tied to a bike, called society, circumstance, happerchance or whatnot.

    So. What happens If you are tied to a bike called addiction?
    (Everyone on this planet Is an addict by the way, In some shape or form, drugs or bad thoughts or most dangerous of all KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge junkies)
    You mean to say If we are tied to the bike called society, which Is corrupt and created by mans selfishness and unntelligence, that we should go with It?

    Well, I for one, disagree with that.

    This void, can only be filled by... Well, figure that part out for yourself.

  221. Surely, happiness is a state of mind. Whether it is fulfilling one's purpose or simply eating fries all day, it is a private concern.

    I do not believe that one can say that a simple advice is true or not true. It works for some and does not for others.

    I believe the point of the third episode is indeed some simple advice: Happiness comes - for humans at least - by a sense of control. You are happy when you feel that you are in control of your life, your cicumstances; the world around you makes sense. This is what everyone wants in order to get happy, even if the exact meaning of that (the purpose, object and means of control) is quite different for each and every one of us. For some, more than for others I guess.

    "Guess what" he says: You are mistaken if you think you will get that control. No one can. We are all tied to a bike, called society, circumstance, happerchance or whatnot. You are not getting control no matter how much you try. You might fight for Communism all your life and 40 years latter you will see the Berlin Wall fall. Or be a hawk, destroy a couple of countries in the Middle East for no apparent reason, and just loose the next election with nothing to show for.

    So accepting some measure of uncertainty (the only certain thing is that things are uncertain), accepting that others will make things difficult for you, plans will go astray and so on, will only make you more equiped to deal with those issues when they arise. It is like saying that by panicking you rarely achieve anything.

    In effect, understanding of the world and of its ways, will restore some of this control back.

    Well, I for one, agree with that.


  222. True,
    There Is a vast differece between happiness and pleasure.
    Pleasure being more like a 'drug addicts' happiness.

    That line you wrote Is nice and simple, quote,

    'Happiness is the fulfillment of the full human function.'

    So, fulfill our function.
    Then we`ll come accross real happiness.

  223. Thomas,
    You're absolutely right mate.

    And I tell you what the problem of this whole series is - not just the third episode.
    It makes the implicit assumption that happiness is merely but a form of hedonism - how to derive more pleasure out of things.
    (Not surprising, it is the dominant world view today.)

    But there is alternatice view to happiness - an authentic one - that was summed up by Aristotle.
    Happiness is the fulfillment of the full human function.
    In other words yes, being Just is part of realizing happienss - for it is part of our highest purpose.

    Justice and happiness are not separate matters as Socrates put it - but one. Leading the good, the beautiful and the just life is one thing.
    The result of living to our highest potential then = real happiness.

    What this author has presented then is little psychological tricks one can use - to fool themselves into how to enjoy life more.

    Accordingly, being unjust or just makes little difference to the state of mind, according to this series author - as happiness is more a question of whether he has enough pleasure in it... (or perceives it as such)

    Need it be said, but Nietzsche was so miserable throughout his life, he went mad towards the end of it.
    It's like asking the most unfit, overweight person to teach you about health.
    ... Not very smart.

  224. @ happiness
    I am not addressing whether this series Is about happiness or justice, I am NOT judging them for their purpose or mine..

    I am simply stating the truth..

    The point he made Is simply untrue,
    you will also notice that more people commenting here have also noticed a problem with that particular episode. 3 others

    Are we JUDGING It for our own purpose?
    Or simply pointing out a mistake.

    You say this Is a series about happiness, not justice.

    So does that mean that If It were about justice, I would be correct, and because It Is about happiness I am Incorrect?

    Surely they should be congruent.

    The point I was making Is this, you used the words, 'accepting misfortune'.
    What If your misfortune Is caused by your own doing?
    Then to accept this will not put an end to the cycle.

    Think about It.

    But by refusing to accept It,
    And changing what causes It,
    It ceases.

    Accepting misfortune will only bring you temporary relief,
    masking over the deeper Issues.

    Thank you.

  225. Please, Thomas note that this is a series about happiness not justice. If your goal is to lead a more balanced and calm life then, yes, accepting misfortune (yours or others') is the way to go.

    If you believe that injustice is to be undone (as I agree you should), then this will not lead to you to a happy life I can tell you that.

    Anyway, please judge them for their purpose not for yours.

  226. NOt a bad series, and I certainly appreciate maxing a series like this, but its certainly a very prejudiced one...
    The choice of philsophers is very questionable, and ultimately not very useful in the subject of finding happiness.

    Nietzsche and Schopenhauer were known to be some of the most pessimistic, unhappy people ever for example.
    Why choose them in discussing the subject of happiness?

    Most important, how could you possibly not have Aristotle in the mix - his definition of happiness would have helped the viewers so much.
    There are much better philsophers on the subject of happiness - that lived happy lives and gave profound lessons.
    Also, what about Kant?

  227. nice series, is it me or did anyone experience a 7 second continuous stutter ... other films i have watched here on this site have not suffered from this and i can only assume it is because the 6 players are on the one page....please fix this as it is very annoying, even this comment suffered from the stutter. othewise thanks very much

  228. While impressive all knowledge does and must be based on your own personal knowledge of what you learn. So to say that you are knowledgeable is to also profoundly say that you are NOT KNOWLEDGEABLE. Sterile knowledge has NO KNOWLEDGE.
    What is learned must come from what we truly know and not from so based expert or authoritative persons. Taoism also states this profoundly. That due to the nature of the flow of life that knowledge is ever actually is a secure knowledge is not possible. And that simply words prove knowledge or intellect is then also not true.

  229. Amazing series

  230. Wow!!

  231. Excellent, the new age of philosophy! By watching a video/documentary instead of reading hundreds of pages of information trying to sort out the most relevant for ourselves, really makes philosophy interesting for the modern attention span lacking generation. I learned about all these philosophers in college but bringing them all together again in a concise documentary really makes it enjoyable. GREAT STUFF!

  232. I have a problem with the overuse of metaphors to elaborate on concepts presented in this series. The selection of metaphor is important. Sometimes it is just better to speak outright on the concept itself. In the previous posts above we have a common problem with the use of metaphor; variation from the intended interpretation, also oftentimes even misinterpretation. Instead of attempting to make use of a famously quoted metaphor from the philosopher, the editor should maybe have instead come up with one with less chance of reinterpretation, OR merely do away with metaphor and describe the solution directly.

    Other than this criticism, wow, what a great TV series of a Philosophy of Happiness! I'm glad that a group of people distilled the best they could six tenets that cover this philosophy. I have not seen this quality of a holistic treatment of this subject matter on American television. Bits and pieces cannot describe the whole concept. Typical American TV funding considerations eliminate any chance of a decent comprehensive series on Happiness. The pharmaceutical industry, for one, would not want to lose out on profits due to PBS viewers coming to their senses and realizing they too can attain a non-medical peace-of-mind. But that's a discussion for another forum.

  233. That doesnt change It from being true.
    Also helps to watch the actual episode.

  234. ellebeck that's a good point I didn't look at it like that from the point of view of it being an a la carte of philosophers...I did learn something about Socrates and his anti-social behavior...will watch the rest this week :)

  235. Thomas, there was so much in your response that I don't agree with but I'd rather not attack you by propping up my opinion and belief as facts... The purpose of this reply is to signal to you the high horse you rode in on is still lower than the smallest hill
    be well bro

  236. By the way, otherwise, I thought this series of documentaries was exceptional, giving us little bits and pieces of the minds of philosophers. It puts things into an alternative perspective from what some of us are used to, which is exactly what we need. We need to know that we can trust ourselves enough to remove ourselves from the "flock". We need to really evaluate why our need for possessions does not make us happy and what truly does. We need to understand our anger and what is justifiable. We need to separate love from happiness just a little more because it would put added value in our relationships. If we separate the two, then we realize that we can maintain happy relationships with others. And we also need to recognize the value of hardship so that we might begin to respect sacrifice.

    These are great documentaries, and this is among my favorite on the site.

  237. Yes, that anger episode is tricky. But, it is meant to be a means of dealing with anger and gives little explanation to the mental state a pessimistic outlook would give to one who consistently exists within it.

    When you think of it, yes, if you expect it to go wrong, then you will not be surprised when it does go wrong, and you are indeed, less likely to blow up and get angry. That doesn't mean it is an effective way to deal with anger.

    I think the best attitude one might have is adaptability, and to understand that we cannot be in control of everything. To be able to realize that things are what they are, quite simply. And to be able to look at something with a realistic point of view. For example, we know the general population is made up of bad drivers, yet we set ourselves up for anger by driving too close to the person in front of us (here in Canada) and then get upset when someone buts in. Maybe if we planned ahead and left early and slowed down, we would be less encouraged to speed to get from point A to point B more quickly.

    I think in dealing with anger, we have to consider our own role in the things that make us angry, and to own up to that responsibility and truth; and from there, really determine what is worth getting angry over.

  238. @ Ignorant
    Please try to watch something before you comment on It.
    What you have done Is to Presume..
    You presume the metaphor for the bike and dog has something to do with the world and universe. You have come to a conclusion without looking Into It.
    You just gave It that meaning In your own mind.
    In this episode, he equates It to things that go wrong,
    the bike represents things that go wrong, Instead of being annoyed when something goes wrong, he says we should EXPECT IT, which means running with the bike.
    (You have given your own meaning to the metaphor)
    He then goes on to recommend that every morning we should run through all the things that can go wrong with the day ahead.

    Hilariously.. the girl Is coming down with a cold and says,
    I suppose Il get pneumonia and die!!

    Anyone who knows anything about the power of the mind would never say such a thing, because you are just going to create It!!

  239. thomas I didn't see the episode, but do some more thinking into it and you realize that the world and universe is the bike, you are the dog, you can fool yourself into enjoying the run or fool yourself into thinking you have a choice and get upset

    at the end of the day you are only in control of yourself if anger gives you pleasure then by all means but otherwise accept what you can't change, and change what you can, and know the difference

  240. First, thank you for this great upload.
    I was shocked to watch the episode on anger and see how untrue It was! We are advised to be pesimistic about life,
    and therefore not be annoyed when things go wrong..?

    He gives the example of a dog tied to a bike,
    Instead of being annoyed about not being free,
    we should give up and follow the bike?

    So, when things go wrong for us,
    as a result of a corrupt society,
    we should not be annoyed,
    and Instead just run along with It like everyone else,

    Is It not possible that some people hold an exceptionaly high standard for themselves and the people around them,
    and that If these standards are not met, then It Is perfectly natural to be annoyed. Its part of being human,
    and drives us to be better and Improve.

    I dont believe Its right to just accept that things go wrong.
    Its better to believe In a world that not very much can go wrong, than to believe we`re better off getting used to a place where things do go wrong.

    Otherwise you become numb, and your mind becomes dull.

  241. Well paced, great scenery, great ideas. Truly a philosophical "how to" in a documentary.

  242. This is really fantabulous. Watching these documentaries, one becomes aware of himself. They are in its own simplicity exceptionally great. Thanks for such a great WISDOM resource.

  243. I don't know if I exactly like the way De Botton demonstrates these philosophers ideas, or ideals as exact. Hes very upright in the one interpretations, for instance the Seneca on being a pessimist- perhaps in a sense, a realist? I don't know if it's the wording that throws me off.. I like the intention, but the scenes and monologue are not thoroughly convincing. And perhaps applicable to life, regardless of whatever century, but still not thoroughly effective or a little downgraded in my opinion. Nonetheless, I can still appreciate the philosophy aspect.

  244. These are truly practical and interesting documentaries not just for philophilosophers (those who are into philosophy).
    I liked the one about Epicure and Socrates the most. They gave me some encouragement and food for thinking.
    I would recommend those two having some free time, or, having enough time, all of these.
    I'd be happy to see more documentaries in this category, by the way!

  245. Really inspiring. Thanks.

  246. I love this documentaries.
    I specially liked Nietzsche because I was founding myself encountering the same answer and eager to find new challenges to overcome the new difficulties, so I would be stronger and happier in the end and at very step of it. Because even while I'm not feeling that happy during the journey I know I'm doing the right and fulfilling thing.

  247. Very good documenteries! They let you think about certain things in life and life itself. I would recommend everyone to watch them.

  248. Extra Ordinary

  249. Prezakias, you know that Newton was being very caustic with his words right? The statement is a double entrende. He said that in a letter to Hooke, who was a short man. So he was not only insulting Hooke's physical features, he was saying he was not intellectually relevant either. Newton was the quintessential nerd. If he was around today, he'd be in Mensa and thumb his nose at the public. Royal jerk, but he was brilliant, so we have to pay our respects to him for co-founding calculus and other physical matters.

  250. A great series. Highly recommended. The foundations of humanity.

  251. Isaac Newton once remarked ,"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

    Thank you for the wonderful uploads.

    These men gave birth to new ideas for the world to adopt.Unfortunately not all of us are fit to be parents.

    Keep up the good word.You are indeed a wonderful parent.

    1. Thanks, Prezakias.