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12
Nov
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On Irritability

Irritability is the tendency to get upset for reasons that seem – to other people – to be pretty minor. Your partner asks you how work went and the way they ask makes you feel intensely agitated. Your partner is putting knives and forks...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
12
Nov
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On Self-pity

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon; you were nine years old. Your parents wouldn’t let you have any ice cream if you didn’t do your maths homework. It was achingly unfair. Every other child in the world was playing football or watching television. No...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
07
Nov
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The Great Psychologists: Sigmund Freud

He described himself as an obsessional neurotic. For although the father of modern psychology told us so much about our inner lives, he was touchingly vulnerable himself.  Sigmund Schlomo Freud was born to a middle-class Jewish family in 1856, in what is now the Czech...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
30
Oct
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The Great Philosophers: Henry David Thoreau

Most of the time, successful modern life involves lots of technology, constantly being connected with other people, working very hard for as much money as possible, and doing what we are told. These elements are almost a conventional prescription for success. So it may...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
26
Oct
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The Great Philosophers: Arthur Schopenhauer

For the griefs of love, he may be the finest among philosophers. He was surely also one of the most pessimistic. Arthur Schopenhauer was born in Danzig in 1788. In later years, he looked back on the event with regret: "Human existence must be a...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
24
Oct
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The Great Philosophers: Michel de Montaigne

We generally think that philosophers should be proud of their big brains, and be fans of thinking, self-reflection and rational analysis. But there’s one philosopher, born in France in 1533, with a refreshingly different take. Michel de Montaigne was an intellectual who spent his writing...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
23
Oct
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The Great Eastern Philosophers: Confucius

We know very little for certain about the life of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (a westernised version of his name, which means ‘Master Kong’). He is said to have been born in 551 B.C. in China; he may have been a student of the...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
19
Oct
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The Great Eastern Philosophers: The Buddha

The story of the Buddha’s life, like all of Buddhism, is a story about confronting suffering. He was born between the sixth and fourth century B.C., the son of a wealthy king in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. It was prophesied that the young...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
19
Oct
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The Great Philosophers: Thomas Aquinas

It seems, at first, weird that we might learn from him. Thomas Aquinas was a medieval saint, said in moments of high excitement to levitate and have visions of the Virgin Mary. He was much concerned with explaining how angels speak and move. And...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
12
Oct
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The Great Psychoanalysts: Anna Freud

We’re particularly down on people we call ‘defensive’. They blame others for what’s probably their own fault. They hear reasonable criticism as a cruel attack. They deny they have a problem when they clearly do. But, of course, we must be doing this ourselves...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
08
Oct
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The Great Eastern Philosophers: Lao Tzu

Little is truly known about the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (sometimes also known as Laozi or Lao Tze), who is a guiding figure in Daoism (also translated as Taoism), a still popular spiritual practice. He is said to have been a record keeper in...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

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