Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Philosophy of Life

A recent Learning Mind article claims that you need a philosophy of life. I happen to have one but that doesn’t imply that everyone has one or needs one. You only need basic things in life like food, shelter and water. Some countries, like mine, have additional needs like heating.

There are some rather famous philosophies of life like:

  1. Carpe diem: “a Latin aphorism, usually translated “seize the day”, taken from book 1 of the Roman poet Horace‘s work Odes (23 BC)”;
  2. Memento mori: “remember (that) you will die”) is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits”;
  3. Feel good, be good, do good. Example: “To be good, and do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words”. A quote from Abigail Adams (1744-1818), “sometimes considered to have been a Founder of the United States“.
  4. The end justifies the means a.k.a. consequentialism: “the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct”, eg, Niccolò Machiavelli;
  5. Grab what you can (while you can) a.k.a. opportunism: “the conscious policy and practice of taking advantage of circumstances – with little regard for principles or with what the consequences are for others”, eg, Demos, Donald Trump

The above examples may suggest that indeed everyone has a philosophy of life, whether conscious or subconscious. Still the question remains whether or not you need a philosophy of life when in survival mode. On the surface, a philosophy of life seems something that you either want or believe in; also see my Needs-Wants-Beliefs concept.

An argument in favour of a Need is that a philosophy of life gives direction to your life, like having a compass in life. The Learning Mind article mentions the meaning of life rather than its direction. I disagree. Some of the above philosophies of life hardly qualify as a meaning of life – let alone (living) a meaningful life.

Possibly, there are different philosophies of life depending on your circumstances:

  • Needs: example 4 above might be more relevant to some;
  • Wants: example 5 above might be more relevant to others;
  • Beliefs: examples 1-3 above might be more relevant to some other people.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (1991) by Monty Python
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

If life seems jolly rotten 
There’s something you’ve forgotten 
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing 
When you’re feeling in the dumps 
Don’t be silly, chumps 
Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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