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Philosophies of Life

INSTRUCTIONS: Below are described fifteen ways to live which various persons at various times have advocated and followed.

Indicate by numbers how much you yourself like or dislike each of them. Do them in order and mark each one as you read it. Do not read ahead. Guess what the philosophy is called, too, if you like.

Your results will be compared to mine so you can see how we match up.

7 - I like it very much.
6 - I like it quite a bit.
5 - I like it slightly.
4 - I am indifferent to it.
3 - I dislike it slightly.
2 - I dislike it quite a bit.
1 - I dislike it very much.
 

Of course, you can always just skip ahead to the answers!


PATH 1: In this philosophy, the individual actively participates in the social life of his community, not to change it primarily, but to understand, appreciate, and preserve the best that man has attained. Excessive desires should be avoided and moderation sought. One wants the good things of life but in an orderly way. Life is to have clarity, balance, refinement, control. Vulgarity, great enthusiasm, irrational behavior, impatience, indulgence are to be avoided. Friendship is to be esteemed but not easy intimacy with many people. Life is to have discipline, intelligibility, good manners, predictability. Social changes are to be made slowly and carefully so that what has been achieved in human culture is not lost. The individual should be active physically and socially, but not in a hectic or radical way. Restraint and intelligence should give order to an active life. Though self is important, society must also be considered because man is above all a social animal.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 2: The individual should for the most part "go it alone," assuring himself of privacy in living quarters, having much time to himself, attempting to control his own life. One should stress self-sufficiency, reflection, and meditation, knowledge of himself. The direction of interest should be away from intimate association with social groups, and away from the physical manipulation of objects or attempts at control of the physical environment. One should aim to simplify one's external life, to moderate those desires whose satisfaction is dependent upon physical and social forces outside of oneself, and to concentrate attention upon the refinement, clarification, and self-direction of one's self. Not much can be done or is to be gained by "living outwardly." One must avoid dependence upon persons or things; the center of life should be found within oneself.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 3: This way of life makes central the sympathetic concern for other persons. Affection should be the main element in life, affection that is free from all traces of the imposition of oneself upon others or of using others for one's own purposes. Greed in possessions, emphasis on sexual passion, the search for power over persons and things, excessive emphasis upon intellect, and undue concern for oneself are to be avoided, for these things hinder the sympathetic love among persons which alone gives significance to life. If we are aggressive, we block our receptivity to the personal forces upon which we are dependent for genuine personal growth. One should accordingly purify oneself, restrain one's self-assertiveness, and become receptive, appreciative, and helpful with respect to other persons.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 4: Life is something to be enjoyed -- sensuously enjoyed, enjoyed with relish and abandonment. The aim in life should not be to control the course of the world or society or the lives of others, but to be open and receptive to things and persons and to delight in them. Life is more a festival than a workshop or a school for moral discipline. To let oneself go, to let things and persons affect one is more important than to do -- or to do good. Such enjoyment, however, requires that one be self-centered enough to be keenly aware of what is happening and free for new happenings. So one should avoid entanglements, should not be too dependent on particular people or things, should not be self-sacrificing; one should be alone often, should have time for meditation and awareness of himself. Both solitude and sociality together are necessary in the good life.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 5: A person should not hold onto himself, withdraw from people, keep aloof, or be self-centered. Rather he should merge himself with a social group, enjoy cooperation and companionship, join with others in resolute activity and cooperative group enjoyment. Meditation, restraint, concern for one's self-sufficiency, abstract intellectuality, solitude, and stress on one's possessions all cut the roots which bind persons together. One should live outwardly with gusto, enjoying the good things of life, working with others to secure the things which make possible a pleasant and energetic social life. Those who oppose this ideal are not to be dealt with too tenderly. Life cannot be too fastidious.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 6: Life continually tends to stagnate, to become "comfortable," to become "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought." Against these tendencies, a person must stress the need for constant activity -- physical action, adventure, the realistic solution of specific problems as they appear, the improvement of techniques for controlling the world and society. Man's future depends primarily on what he does, not what he feels or on his speculations. New problems constantly arise and always will arise. Improvements must always be made if man is to progress. We cannot just follow the past or dream of what the future might be. We have to work resolutely and continually if control is to be gained over the forces which threaten us. Man should rely on technical advances made possible by scientific knowledge. He should find his goal in the solution of his problem. The good is the enemy of the better.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 7: Man should at various times and in various ways accept something from all other paths of life, but give no one his exclusive allegiance. At one moment one of them is the more appropriate; at another moment another is the most appropriate. Life should contain enjoyment and action and contemplation in about equal amounts. When either is carried to extremes, man loses something important for his life, so he must accept the tension which this diversity produces, find a place for detachment in the midst of enjoyment and activity. The goal of life is found in the dynamic integration of enjoyment, action, and contemplation and in the dynamic interaction of the various paths of life. One should use all of these elements in building a life, not just one alone.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 8: Enjoyment should be the keynote of life -- not the hectic search for intense and exciting pleasures, but the enjoyment of the simple and easily obtainable pleasures: the pleasure of just existing, of savory food, of comfortable surroundings, of talking with friends, of rest and relaxations. Pleasure is the only good -- whether of the intellect or of the body. Pleasure is possible, however, only in moderation; overindulgence is to be completely avoided. A home that is warm and comfortable, chairs and beds that are soft, a kitchen well-stocked with food, a door always open to the entrance of friends -- this is the place to live. Body at ease, relaxed, calm in its movements, not hurried, breathing slowly, and willing to nod and rest. Driving ambition and the fanaticism of ascetic ideals are the signs of discontented people who have lost the capacity to float in the stream of simple carefree, wholesome enjoyment. Man sees nature with a scientific eye and abandons the belief in a divine providence and realizes that death is the end; then he is released from the fear and terror inspired by religion and is able to live in tranquility.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 9: Man himself is the cause and foundation of his own existence and essence. Reason knows only universals and can never make sense of man's subjective existence as an individual. The experiences of "anxiety" and "fear and trembling" and the apprehension of God through faith must be to the intellectual mind simply "absurd." Man as an individual is significant through his own "decisions" in a time of crisis. Personal experience is identical with the temporal existence of man. Salvation is no far-off goal of striving, nor some ultimate synthesis of a dialectic of reason, but it is now, in the act of decision. If the familiar world sinks into chaos, man becomes susceptible to the dizziness and dread of an abyss, described as the dread of freedom or the dread of nothingness. In its positive aspect such experience engenders a new wondering about the miracle of being contrasted with abysmal nothingness. Man's essence is identified with his existence, the true mode of his being, and this existence, in turn, with historicity as the essential mode of integrated temporal life. Finally man learns to see his own being in the light and shadow of death, and it is only in the foundering of temporal life that man strikes the rock of the one unknowable Being.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 10: Receptivity should be the keynote of life. The good things of life come of their own accord, and come unsought. They cannot be found be resolute action. They cannot be found in the indulgence of the sensuous desires of the body. They cannot be given to others by attempts to be helpful. They cannot be garnered by hard thinking. Rather do they come unsought and when the self has ceased to make demands and waits in quiet receptivity, it becomes open to the powers which nourish it and work through it; and sustained by these powers, it knows joy and peace. To sit alone under the trees and the sky, open to nature's voices, calm and receptive, then can the wisdom from without come within.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 11: Self-control should be the keynote of life -- not the easy self-control which retreats from the world, but the vigilant, stern, manly control of a self which lives in the world and knows the strength of the world and the limits of human power. The good life is rationally directed and holds firm to high ideals. It is not bent by the deductive voices and comfort and desire. It does not expect social utopias. Happiness comes from living in accordance with universal law and in accepting one's fate without complaint. Man must guard against the ups and downs of the emotional life; indeed he must suppress any and all emotions, even compassion. He must live the stern life of duty and of reason. And in this way, though he finally perish, man can keep his human dignity and respect and die with cosmic good manners.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 12: The contemplative life is the good life. The external world is not a fit habitat for man. It is too big, too cold, too pressing. Rather it is the life turned inward that is rewarding. The rich internal world of ideals, of sensitive feelings, of searching for self-knowledge is man's true home. By the cultivation of the self within, man alone becomes human. Only then does there arise deep sympathy with all that lives, and understanding of the suffering inherent in life, a realization of the futility of aggressive action, the attainment of contemplative joy. Conceit then falls away and austerity is dissolved. In giving up the world, one finds the larger and finer sea of the inner self.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 13: The use of the body's energy is the secret of a rewarding life. The hands need material to make into something: lumber and stone for building, food to harvest, clay to mold. The muscles are alive to find joy in action, in climbing, running, skiing, and the like. Life finds its zest in overcoming, dominating, conquering some obstacles. It is the active deed which is satisfying, the deed adequate to the present, the daring and adventuresome deed. Not in cautious foresight, not in relaxed ease does life attain completion. Outward energetic action, the excitement of power in the tangible present -- this is the way to live.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 14: A person should let himself be used -- used by other persons in their growth, used by the great objective purposes in the universe which silently and irresistibility achieve their goal. For persons and the world's purposes are dependable at heart and can be trusted. One should be humble, constant, faithful, uninsistent. Grateful for the affection and protection which one needs, but undemanding. One is dependent on and close to persons and to nature, a closeness which brings a sense of security. One nourishes the good by devotion and is thus sustained by the good because of devotion. One should be serene and confident, a quiet vessel and instrument of the great dependable powers which move to their fulfillment.



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Name of Philosophy?



PATH 15: Man is the measure of all things, of the good insofar as it is good, and of the true insofar as it is true. Nothing is good or bad, true or false as such, but thinking makes it so. Justice is self-interest; might is right. Moral codes are unnatural restrictions upon human freedom; society and the state are artificial bonds. The strong man should throw off these bonds, assert his preferences, and exploit his weaker brethren. Thus all aspects of life are relative; nothing is absolute.



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Name of Philosophy?






Calvin: If Heaven is good and if I like to be bad, how am I supposed to be happy there?

Hobbes: How will you get to heaven if you like to be bad?

Calvin: Let's say I didn't do what I wanted to do. Suppose I led a blameless life! Suppose I denied my true dark nature!

Hobbes: I'm not sure I have that much imagination.

Calvin: Maybe Heaven is a place where you're allowed to be bad!

 

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