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Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness

Season 1
What can the great philosophers of the past teach us about navigating the modern world? Do their theories, thoughts and works apply to us today and, if we follow their teachings, will they make us happier, more well-rounded individuals? British philosopher Alain de Botton looks at the ideas of six thinkers who have influenced history and uses them to tackle problems that plague all of our lives.
20006 episodes
16+
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Episodes

  1. S1 E1 - Seneca On Anger
    March 25, 2000
    24min
    16+
    The world can feel like a bit of an angry place most of the time. But where is this rage coming from and what can we do to control it? Roman philosopher Seneca may have lived over 2000 years ago, but anger concerned him enough that he wrote a whole book on the subject. Can his ancient teachings about lowering our expectations help to curb the wrath of a modern day truck driver?
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  2. S1 E2 - Schopenhauer On Love
    April 1, 2000
    24min
    16+
    When dealing with the intrigues of love, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer may not be the first person you’d turn to for advice. His view on the world was often considered somewhat pessimistic. But could his notion that propagating the species is the most important natural force for humans, help to remove some of the mysteries associated with love and reduce unnecessary romantic pressure?
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  3. S1 E3 - Epicurus on Happiness
    April 8, 2000
    24min
    16+
    If the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus were alive today, he’d make an absolute killing in the self-help market. He believed that the route to total happiness and tranquility involved self-sufficiency, surrounding yourself with good friends and being free. He felt material possessions merely made us more miserable. Could his non-consumerist vision provide a blueprint for our lives today?
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  4. S1 E4 - Montaigne On Self-Esteem
    April 15, 2000
    24min
    16+
    Low self-esteem may feel like a modern problem but French philosopher Michel de Montaigne was concerned with the condition back in the 16th-century. He felt that bodily inferiority, the judgment of others and intellectual inadequacy made us feel bad about ourselves. But could his belief in accepting our own ordinariness, and not worrying about things outside of our control, help us be happier?
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  5. S1 E5 - Socrates On Self-Confidence
    April 29, 2000
    24min
    16+
    The ancient Greek thinker Socrates felt that too many of us followed the herd and didn’t think for ourselves enough. We’re all too easily swayed by the opinions of others and fail to live a life that questions the world around us, preventing us from developing a strong personal viewpoint. Could taking a more Socratic, challenging approach in the social media age provide some much needed solace?
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  6. S1 E6 - Nietzsche on Hardship
    May 6, 2000
    24min
    16+
    Do we all have it too easy? Certainly German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche would think so. He stridently believed that to achieve any sort of self-satisfaction, you have to suffer. The only way to achieve anything worthwhile was to overcome hardship and difficulty. Comfort and ease leads directly to misery. Is his view: ‘that which does not kill us makes us stronger’ applicable today?
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Details

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Subtitles
None available
Directors
Celia Lowenstein
Producers
Roy AckermanNeil CrombieSophie Theunissen
Starring
Alain de Botton
Studio
Diverse Productions
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