Philosophy, No Rubbish. How to understand philosophers and yourself

Ekaterina Gres
288 pages;

Everyone, who has at least once been tete-a-tete with himself (and a glass of wine), may call himself a philosopher. Questions like: Who am I? What is the meaning of life? Where is my place in the world? And why didn’t he call back? clutter in our consciousness and deprive lighthearted and careless us of sleep. Searching for the answers, people climb Everest, hire famous (and expencive) coaches, study the position of the stars at their birth and even shave their head to at least sit some where next to the Dalai Lama in anticipation of enlightenment.

But at some point it becomes obvious that there is no universal answer to these questions, and a shiny bold head of Buddhist monk looks really good on only a few.

We are shaped and formed by ideas, but not all of them are equally good. How do we develop our own critical thinking and finally figure out which ideas are worth exploring and which are worth sending off...back to Everest? The author of this book, a young scientist at Moscow State University’s Philosophy Department, has some good advice for those who are lost in search of themselves.

«If you want to understand what you never understood, start reading what you never read. For example, philosophy. Because if it does not answer all the questions about the world, us, the purpose of life, at least it will show you the way, where and how you can find them.»

Great thinkers of the distant past (Confucius, Lao-tzu, Plato, Seneca, Mark Aurelius) and those who are closer to us in time (Friedrich Nietzsche, Erich Fromm, Sigmund Freud) left extensive intellectual treasures to their descendants, and everyone who discovered and decipher them will certainly come to something his liking, and — as a bonus — will acquire a philosophical attitude.

This is not a dusty academic textbook, full of incomprehensible words, combined into even more incomprehensible page long sentences. You won’t finish a chapter with your mouth open in an embarrassing question: «What did he say?» The author aspires to combine the urge for self-development with interest in philosophical knowledge through the most famous philosophy trendsetters. The author aims to create a guidebook where basic philosophical concepts are presented in human language, illustrated with life situations and popular films. Because if there is something in our minds, it is probably that something ancient already invented by the Greeks or someone like Immanuel Kant. Besides, philosophy is the coolest brain trainer. It’s as if you’re updating your brain operating system to get a new functionality, to fix bugs caused by the settings installed in the process of education by someone else’s opinion (even the Dalai Lama himself).

Each chapter is devoted not just to a new philosopher, but also to a new skill: art of love, money making, arguing, contemplation and, of course, resting, as a true thinker. In addition, the book includes a list of literature on different topics, for the reader not to get lost in the piles of philosophical works, and small practical tasks at the end of every chapter, in order to upgrade not only your mental outlook, but also life.

The following is in the book:

  • how philosophy set humanity free from the captivity of error and why Socrates was the first philosopher who, like Andy Dufresne, made a hole in the wall of sophist argumentation;
  • what is in common between the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, who dreamt that he was a butterfly, and Edward Norton from «Fight Club», who had his own personal nightmare in the body of Tyler Derden;
  • as Epicurus not only created an Instagram trend of a glass of wine in the bath, but also made pleasures the center of his own ethical doctrine;
  • why love, according to philosopher Erich Fromm, is a B-52 cocktail where you can be a single whole without mixing your personalities like a fruit smoothie;<>
  • and also you and the author touch the mystery of the Russian soul — Are you gangsters? — No, we are Russians!, who created their cinematic superman on the basis of Nietzsche’s ideas

Philosophy, No Rubbish doesn’t include unnecessary moral teachings and tiresome reasoning. Quite a light hearted, illustrated, full of curious facts and exercises for integration of philosophical knowledge into your daily life, these philosophy lessons will not only be useful for deep conversations with friends and yourself, but also fascinating. This is a step towards self-development through destruction of established stereotypes and formation of critical thinking. Before you start, remember: if you don’t expect philosophy to give you answers to all the questions, if you don’t consider it a sacred source of higher and absolute wisdom, you can get exactly as much as you want. Namely, knowledge about philosophy, new ideas and tools for self-understanding. There are no magic words, there are magic kicks for your ability to think.

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