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Oasis Magazine Articles

A Cognitive Adventure: Lovers of Wisdom

By Amirah Ahmed

September 01, 2015

Lovers of Wisdom

Philosophers, or “lovers of wisdom”, are individuals who engage, learn, and study philosophy; the problems and questions related to themes such as existence, reason, reality, values, knowledge, mind and language to name a few. It is important to remember that philosophy in its traditional sense was considered a science.  With this in mind, philosophers used rationality to come to scientific knowledge about the world in which we live. But of course there were still those philosophers who stemmed away from science too. Let’s explore some philosophical thinkers whose principles will definitely make you think! 

Who was Epicurus? 

You may not have heard about Epicurus because he is not one of those philosophers that immediately come to mind when you hear the word “philosopher”. But Epicurus is an interesting character with some equally interesting views about life and how to be happy. After all, who would disagree with the concept that we all want to be happy and have a happy life? 

Epicurus’ principles on a happy life can be summarized in a couple of statements: “Don’t fear God; don’t worry about death; what is good is easy to get; what is terrible is easy to endure”. No wonder he was criticized for not believing in God, as many philosophers had an unfair reputation as a teacher of self-indulgence and excess pleasure. His Golden Rule was situated in the belief that “it is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing ‘neither to harm nor be harmed’), and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life”. You only get one life, which as we all know unfortunately does not last very long, thus it is important that we enjoy ourselves and be happy. Epicurus’s idea of living happily involved treating others justly, try to avoid pain, and try to live in such a way that you are making yourself happy and enjoying your life.

Who was Zeno of Citium?

The world is exactly what we make of it. Zeno of Citium founded the school of Stoicism, which revolves around the notion that anything which causes us to suffer in life is really just an error in our judgment, and that we should always have complete control over our emotions. This may be a hard truth to swallow as many of us are guilty of blaming everything around us as the cause for our suffering and pain when really it may just be an error in our decision-making. Moreover, Zeno advocated that depression and rage are all simple flaws in a person’s reason, and consequently, we are only emotionally weak when we let ourselves to be. In order for our mental state to be at peace Zeno believed that the existing displeasures in life must be avoided. So you must not let anything upset you because it comes from your own will for you to be happy and enter mental peace. 

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