The struggle is real

Every person has it’s own philosophy

What suits you, belongs you

AS IT IS!!

Starting from Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest proves to be true even today, as everyone is striving to live. An individual tries to apply his consciousness to prepare plans for the future. One wants to move things as he wishes to regardless of the consequences. The never-ending desires keep adding up to the list and lead the being into the vicious cycle. While philosophy is an attempt to satisfy these reasonable desires. It is not an amenity but a necessity. In a broad sense, it means “love of knowledge “and tries to understand things that remotely concern man.

Several fields deal with different questions regarding the universe and man. The two broad branches were divided based on the belief of Vedas. Those who believed in it were termed as orthodox and the others as heterodox. Every book tried to solve the questions in their way. However, Bhagavad Gita made an effort to bring the direction towards an end of desire.

The meaning of Bhagavad Gita is 'Lord's song.' The words which were spoken by Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra later got written down in the form of this pious book. 

It begins with teaching Arjuna regarding the duty of the Prince to fight against evil. It gives a synthesis of the three paths of knowledge, action, and devotion. The fundamental focus is on the path of Nishkaam karma.

A middle way between pravriti and nivriti proves to be the ethical doctrine. Pravriti refers to the actions which one does to get the fruits in return. While, nivriti is the giving up of all the materialistic things and responsibilities to achieve a life of sanyasi. Therefore, nishkaam karma avoids the extremes and accepts the necessities of both the karma. It depicts that one should do work without any expectation of getting the same in return. A sense of detachment and duty should arise.

A person needs to have a mental state of equanimity. The actions should be done either for humanity or the devotion towards God.

Happiness is the only key to live a happy and healthy life. However, it is disrupted by the expectations raise due to the unfulfillment of desires. When a person starts following this journey of Nishkaam karma, it does not only benefit him but also the society. And in turn the struggle becomes saral.

To whom the pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for attaining immortality.

Can Money Make You Happy?

Money. It’s either the root of all evil or the best thing ever. People are arguing about the merits of wealth since they started saving it up. We’ve all faced the question of if we should always pursue money for its own sake, or if we might be happier without it.

Science increasingly shows that there’s a correct quantity of cash for happiness, but that countless variables make the quantity change for a small reason. The problem must be approached another way.

Philosophers have asked the same question. Every thinker who has tried to answer the question of how to live has had to wonder how much money was right to have. Here, we have got the ideas on how money affects happiness from ten philosophers which may assist you to decide what proportion money is enough.

Aristotle

In Aristotelian philosophy, virtue is the key requirement for a life well-lived. But while his stoic contemporaries thought virtue alone would assure a good life, Aristotle knew that a few other things would be needed. Among them are friendship, good luck, and money.

While he saw money as merely a tool to market other goals, he’s open about the very fact that the great life requires that you simply have a good amount of it. One of the things on his list of virtues needed to measure a full life is magnificence, which involves the donation of huge sums to charity.

He warns against the life dedicated to pursuing money, however, as this is often a life spent chasing something which is “useful for a few other ends” without ever reaching that end.


“The lifetime of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the great we are seeking; for it’s merely useful and for the sake of something else.” —Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau is legendary for retreating to a cabin near Walden pound and writing a book about his experiment of living an easy, self-sufficient life within the wilderness. While his experiment is usually presented as quite it had been, his cabin wasn’t that far away from a town and his mother usually cooked and cleaned for him, his ideas on the straightforward life are still worth considering.

His time within the woods showed him the advantages of living simply; like what proportion humanity can gain by spending longer in nature and the way getting faraway from material pleasures can help us live a fuller life. While his self-imposed situation came with great security, we will all stand to find out from his ideas on the way to earn less and live more.

To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse- Walden

Epicurus

Epicurus was a philosopher with some bold ideas on the way to make people happy. He lived in the countryside in a large house with a dozen other people where they all lived communally. He argued that the path to happiness was moderation, strong friendships, and philosophy.

Rather than accumulating wealth, one should attempt to live an easy life and find joy in things like friends, the pleasures of labor, and philosophy. While he wasn’t against having some wealth, he feared that having an excessive amount of it might lead an individual to measure immoderately, which might cause vice and unhappiness. The moderate life, however, didn’t require much money in the least.

If you would like to form Pythocles wealthy, don’t give him more money; rather, reduce his desires- Epicurus

Why is Moral Relativism Being Challenged?

Morality is universally considered as one of the foundational aspects of our human existence. We make countless moral judgments every day and all our cries for justice are found in the knowledge that something is wrong and that it needs to be addressed. With the rise of Modernism and Post-Modernism in the mid-twentieth century, man who had disposed of hitherto frames of reference and found himself lost, placed greater emphasis on morality as being constructed and something he could change if he had the need to. However, the roots of this theory can be traced back to ancient Greece. It challenges the claims of moral objectivism which posits an objective moral standard from which we derive our notions of right and wrong. Relativists oppose this considering that nothing can exist so objectively, and the possibility of an overarching deity is not considered. Therefore, it is inconceivable to relativists that objectivism is tenable. However, one can only reject or approve the validity of an idea by looking at the other options available, and if they explain reality better.

While moral relativism was considered as a given in the absence of a God, it is being challenged by many philosophers in current scholarship. This includes many eminent scholars and even pop atheistic philosophers like Sam Harris who tries to posit an objective standard even though he fails to justify why it should exist. There are different kinds of moral relativisms such as subjectivism or perhaps the most popular of all, cultural relativism. The reason for the challenge is simple. The notion runs into multiple fundamental philosophical problems. We will discuss a few of those here.

Firstly, morals being relative to culture does not let us arbitrate between cultural conflicts without someone pointing out how it is immoral to impose one culture’s morality on another. This also assumes that cultures have morals that are vastly different but when one looks into this assumption, we do see a pattern of universality in many fundamental moral principles we hold to. The differences are mostly superficial and not fundamental. Rape is never considered as ever being objectively okay, neither is genocide or murder or any kind of harm. So, one is forced to say that this can only mean that there is an objective standard that everyone knows and is universal which is why it shows up in all cultures, but that our ways of knowing it and how we interpret it is different. This will explain why there have been cannibalistic cultures and regimes that have killed many of its own people. It was not because they thought murder was okay since they wouldn’t allow any of their kin to be murdered, but that they considered the murder of another who is not part of their community as necessary for the survival of the community, which leads us to power struggle and hierarchy rather than relativistic morals. We condemn slave owners and the Nazis even though we say that at that time, what they indulged in was not considered wrong by the morality of that time. We don’t however use that to justify their actions since we say they should have known better.

photo of a woman sitting beside statue
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

This leads us to another problem with relativism: it cannot make any sense of moral progress. If everything was relative, why do we consider some practices better than others and try to change what is right? Should not we just accept it as our culture? And attributing such standards to culture is also problematic since culture doesn’t exist apart from humans. If the answer is that we oppose certain practices because all people should be treated equally, we would have to answer why we are equal at all. Our definition of ‘equal’, as well as our idea of all people being equal, will also be only mere opinions if everything is relativistic. Particularly today, we hear about “progress” being made and us being “better” than our ancestors morally. But we can only use the term “better” when we know we are moving towards the best. Without a standard, how do we even know where on the scale of progress we are?

Philosophers opine that objective morality can be known just as physical reality is known, that is through experience. The feeling that we are wronged when someone hurts us or oppresses us testifies to our inner reality of being moral creatures. In fact, we are unable as humans to think outside this framework. The most common objection is that moral relativism can be used to legitimize almost anything. This article barely scratches the surface of the complexity of the issue. While philosophers are trying to salvage the idea of relativism by offering arguments and with constant engagement, there is still a need for proper justification of this notion.  One has to wait and see how this debate turns out, but in the meantime try to learn for oneself, understand both sides of the argument and come to decide what is more rational and can be believed with reasonable surety.

 

 

Lessons from life of a Samurai

The world of martial arts is truly a thrilling one, isn’t it? Those movies with ninjas, mighty warriors and samurais give me an adrenaline rush. The swordfights are gripping ones. But above all , the Samurais for some inexplicable reason have always fascinated me. No they aren’t mere characters we see on the screen or hear tales of.

They are a jewel in Japan’s glorious history. The real warriors, whose lives had a deeper meaning beyond protection of the royalty. A life built upon the philosophy of Bushido. (Righteousness, couragebenevolence, respect, honesty, honour, and loyalty). Their lives hold the secrets of becoming a real warrior.

Here are major takeaways from the life of a Samurai. 

  • State of staying calm: The Samurais laid emphasis on cultivating a calm mind. A mind, wherein there is no room for anxieties and nor the fear of death.  In the words of samurai Miyamoto Mushashi, “Most important battle is to overcome yourself”. A calm mind is the ultimate weapon against all your enemies. When the Samurais can stay calm in the face of death, then why can’t we in midst of a challenging situation? Controlling your mind is the first step towards becoming a modern day Samurai.
  • Turning obstacles into opportunities: The story of Samurai Minamoto No Tametomo is an inspiring one. Born with a genetic deformity, his arm was 6 inches longer than others. But did that stop him from becoming a Samurai? Absolutely No!! He turned this “perceived” shortcoming into his strength and went on to become one of the finest Samurai archers. So the next time you feel like whining how unfair life is, just shift your focus. Today’s weakness might turn out to be your greatest strength tomorrow. So stop complaining when life hands you lemons, instead focus on the lemonade.
  • Dedication:  The Samurais had an unwavering dedication towards their duty. And mind you, unlike us their dedication wasn’t short lived. They committed their entire lives towards the single purpose of serving Japan.  The legendary Samurai tales are a testimony of how these warriors could pierce an arrow through large rocks with sheer devotion. They were so resolute in their purpose that upon facing defeat they chose to commit Seppuku(die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies). Honour and purpose weighed far more for a Samurai than his own life. Do contemplate when was the last time you were so dedicated towards your life, relationships and self growth? If not, then find your calling and chase it like a Samurai.
  • Growth Mindset: Remember that scene in karate Kid wherein Jackie Chan tells Jaden Smith to pick up his jacket a thousand times over as a part of his martial arts training?

The above picture carries the essence of Kaizen (Japanese philosophy of change for the better” or “continuous improvement.”) The Samurais were masters of the art of repetition. Learning new techniques and practicing them until they attainted perfection. They trained relentlessly, preparing themselves for battles. Even the master Samurais instead of being consumed by pride, always strived for becoming better than the previous day.  And here we are, basking in the false glory of “knowing it all”. Remember, like desires there is no end to learning. So let’s learn, repeat and grow!

  • Comparison with self: Samurai Tshkara Bokuden quoted “My art is different from yours. It consists not so much in defeating others but not being defeated”. These words resonate deeply in the world today wherein we compare ourselves with colleagues, friends and random people on social media robbing our inner peace. We defeat the very meaning of our own existence in the process of comparison. So like Samurais let’s water the garden of our minds instead of letting the weeds of comparison to grow.
  • Acceptance towards life: The Samurais were mindful of their lives and actions. Unlike others, they weren’t caught in the quest for worldly success nor did they fear death. They accepted both happiness and sorrow with equal calm. They sought nothing outside themselves. The Samurais knew that there lies a powerful force inside us and it is the same force that drives our surroundings. Samurai Miyamoto Mushashi quotes “Get beyond love and grief. Exist for the good of humanity”.So instead of chasing material pursuits, let’s take a step towards becoming more accepting of our lives and the self.

As we come to an end, you must be wondering do samurais still exist? Honestly speaking, they don’t. The Meiji Emperor abolished the Samurai system. However, their cultural legacy is eternal and the lessons from the lives of Samurai still hold the same relevance as they did in the medieval times. But these Samurais weren’t born Samurais. They trained hard both physically and mentally to earn that honour.  I believe, we’re all warriors fighting our own battles and we don’t needs armours or swords for that. Let’s simply imbibe these valuable lessons from the Samurais into our lives.

You ,my friend, don’t just be any warrior. Strive to become a “modern day Samurai”.