What have the Romans ever done for us? Well, obviously the roads – the roads go without saying. How about guidance for how to live in the 21st century? That seems less likely, but in fact the last few years have seen a flurry of interest in the work of three Roman Stoic philosophers who offered just that. They were Seneca, tutor to the Emperor Nero; Epictetus, a former slave; and Marcus Aurelius, himself emperor.
By Lorraine L Besser. Most of us know and value pleasant experiences. We savour the taste of a freshly picked strawberry. We laugh more than an event warrants, just because laughing feels good. We might argue about the degree to which such pleasant experiences are valuable, and the extent to which they ought to shape our lives, but we can’t deny their value.
There is a phrase you are as likely to find in a serious philosophy text as you are in the wackiest self-help book: ‘Know thyself!’ The phrase has serious philosophical pedigree: by Socrates’ time, it was more or less received wisdom (apparently chiselled into the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi) though a form of the phrase reaches back to Ancient Egypt. And ever since, the majority of philosophers have had something to say about it.
The best of the philosophical internet from The Guardian, Aeon, Quartz, Skeptic, Brain Pickings, Big Think, Literary Hub, The Spectator, The Times Literary Supplement, The Conversation, the APA, The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, Vulture, Bustle, HuffPost, BBC Ideas, KALW and Reason.
A meandering and at times highly questionable article in The Guardian titled “How feelings took over the world” can be summarized in brief with a few quotes. Ok, it’s not really a summary but a distillation of the article’s most interesting ideas. So what? To all those exhaustive types out there—sue me.