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In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have.
Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own lives. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.
A practical, refreshingly optimistic guide that uses centuries-old wisdom to help us better cope with the stresses of modern living.
Some people bounce back in response to setbacks; others break. We often think that these responses are hardwired, but fortunately this is not the case. Stoicism offers us an alternative approach. Plumbing the wisdom of one of the most popular and successful schools of thought from ancient Rome, philosopher William B. Irvine teaches us to turn any challenge on its head. The Stoic Challenge, then, is the ultimate guide to improving your quality of life through tactics developed by ancient Stoics, from Marcus Aurelius and Seneca to Epictetus.
This book uniquely combines ancient Stoic insights with techniques discovered by contemporary psychological research, such as anchoring and framing. The result is a surprisingly simple strategy for dealing with life’s unpleasant and unexpected challenges—from minor setbacks like being caught in a traffic jam or having a flight cancelled to major setbacks like those experienced by physicist Stephen Hawking, who slowly lost the ability to move, and writer Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered from locked-in syndrome.
The Stoics discovered that thinking of challenges as tests of character can dramatically alter our emotional response to them. Irvine’s updated “Stoic test strategy” teaches us how to transform life’s stumbling blocks into opportunities for becoming calmer, tougher, and more resilient. Not only can we overcome everyday obstacles—we can benefit from them, too.
Because Stoicism was, for Musonius, not merely a philosophy but a prescription for daily living, he has been called “the Roman Socrates.” MUSONIUS RUFUS: LECTURES AND SAYINGS will therefore be welcomed by those who seek insight into the practice of Stoicism.
In this volume, readers will find Cynthia King’s translation of Musonius’ lectures, as recorded by his pupil Lucius; the sayings attributed to Musonius by ancient writers; an exchange of letters between Musonius and Apollonius of Tyana; and a letter from Musonius to Pankratides. This volume also includes a preface by William B. Irvine, author of A GUIDE TO THE GOOD LIFE: THE ANCIENT ART OF STOIC JOY.
Uno de los grandes temores al que muchos de nosotros nos enfrentamos es descubrir al final que hemos desperdiciado nuestra vida, a pesar de todos nuestros esfuerzos. En El arte de la buena vida, William B. Irvine explora la sabiduría de la filosofía estoica, una de las escuelas de pensamiento más populares y exitosas de la antigua Roma, y muestra cómo sus ideas y consejos aún pueden aplicarse hoy en día.
Utilizando los conocimientos psicológicos y las técnicas prácticas de los estoicos, Irvine ofrece una hoja de ruta para quienes buscan evitar los sentimientos de insatisfacción crónica que nos aquejan. Los lectores aprenderán cómo minimizar sus preocupaciones, cómo dejar de lado el pasado y centrar sus esfuerzos en las cosas que podemos controlar, y cómo lidiar con los insultos, el dolor, la vejez y las tentaciones que distraen como la fama y la fortuna. Aprenderemos de Marco Aurelio la importancia de valorar solo cosas de verdadero valor, y de Epícteto a estar más contentos con lo que tenemos.
Si nos observamos a nosotros mismos en nuestro trabajo diario y luego reflexionamos sobre lo que vivimos, podremos identificar mejor las fuentes de angustia y evitar el dolor. Solo así, pensaron los estoicos, podremos esperar alcanzar una vida verdaderamente feliz.
In On Desire, William B. Irvine takes us on a wide-ranging tour of our impulses, wants, and needs, showing us where these feelings come from and how we can try to rein them in. Spicing his account with engaging observations by writers like Seneca, Tolstoy, and Freud, Irvine considers the teachings of Buddhists, Hindus, the Amish, Shakers, and Catholic saints, as well as those of ancient Greek and Roman and modern European philosophers. Irvine also looks at what modern science can tell us about desire--such as what happens in the brain when we desire something and how animals evolved particular desires--and he advances a new theory about how desire itself evolved. Irvine also suggests that at the same time that we gained the ability to desire, we were "programmed" to find some things more desirable than others. Irvine concludes that the best way to attain lasting happiness is not to change the world around us or our place in it, but to change ourselves. If we can convince ourselves to want what we already have, we can dramatically enhance our happiness.
Brimming with wisdom and practical advice, On Desire offers a thoughtful approach to controlling unwanted passions and attaining a more meaningful life.
In A Slap in the Face, William Irvine undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of insults, their history, the role they play in social relationships, and the science behind them. He examines not just memorable zingers, such as Elizabeth Bowen's description of Aldous Huxley as "The stupid person's idea of a clever person," but subtle insults as well, such as when someone insults us by reporting the insulting things others have said about us: "I never read bad reviews about myself," wrote entertainer Oscar Levant, "because my best friends invariably tell me about them." Irvine also considers the role insults play in our society: they can be used to cement relations, as when a woman playfully teases her husband, or to enforce a social hierarchy, as when a boss publicly berates an employee. He goes on to investigate the many ways society has tried to deal with insults-by adopting codes of politeness, for example, and outlawing hate speech-but concludes that the best way to deal with insults is to immunize ourselves against them: We need to transform ourselves in the manner recommended by Stoic philosophers. We should, more precisely, become insult pacifists, trying hard not to insult others and laughing off their attempts to insult us.
A rousing follow-up to A Guide to the Good Life, A Slap in the Face will interest anyone who's ever delivered an insult or felt the sting of one--in other words, everyone.
You: A Natural History offers a multidisciplinary investigation of your hyperextended family tree, going all the way back to the Big Bang. And while your family tree may contain surprises, your hyperextended history contains some truly amazing stories. As the result of learning more about who and what you are, and about how you came to be here, you will likely see the world around you with fresh eyes. You will also become aware of all the one-off events that had to take place for your existence to be possible: stars had to explode, the earth had to be hit 4.5 billion years ago by a planetesimal and 65 million years ago by an asteroid, microbes had to engulf microbes, the African savanna had to undergo climate change, and of course, any number of your direct ancestors had to meet and mate. It is difficult, on becoming aware of just how contingent your own existence is, not to feel very lucky to be part of our universe.
In Aha!: The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World, philosopher William B. Irvine, author of A Guide to the Good Life and On Desire, explores these epiphanies, from the minor insights that strike us all daily, to the major realizations that alter the course of history. Focusing on aha moments as they take place in five different domains--religion, morality, science, math, and art--Irvine provides case studies that shed light on the different ways epiphanies happen in the different domains, and on their differing social impact. Along the way, he describes some of the great aha moments in history, from ancient times to the present day.
We like to think that our greatest thoughts are the product of our conscious mind. Irvine demonstrates, though, that it is our unconscious mind that is the source of our most significant insights, and that the role the conscious mind plays in eliciting these insights is to try, unsuccessfully, to solve certain problems. Only if the conscious mind is willing to do this--and thereby experience considerable frustration--is the unconscious mind likely to reward it with a breakthrough insight-that the conscious mind will then take credit for.
Irvine explores not only the neuroscience of aha moments but also their personal and social ramifications. How does a person respond to having a breakthrough insight that goes against a dominant paradigm? And how does the world respond when she shares that insight? Irvine shows that in many cases, what is most remarkable about those who have had the great insights of human history is not their but their courage and perseverance in fighting for the world to accept those insights.
Aha! is a must-read for cognitive scientists, intellectual historians, philosophers, and anyone who has ever been blown away by the ideas that enlighten us when we least expect it.