About the Site
I decided to start this site because I’m passionate about philosophy and I believe that in today’s world it has a bit of PR problem. Many people still see it as an esoteric discipline, full of ivory tower observations that don’t relate to daily life. While it is certainly possible to make philosophy into that, it hasn’t always been that, and it doesn’t have to be today.
Philosophy translates to mean love of wisdom, and at its base, wisdom is about taking actions. It acts int he background to guide all of our actions. So for me, philosophy is a way to attain the wisdom that can guide our actions and lead us to a better life. For Aristotle, this meant reaching a state of eudaimonia, often translated as happiness, but with meaning much deeper and well rounded than we usually attribute to the English word ‘happiness.’ Eudaimonia is hard to achieve – it’s a state of being, or rather, of well-being, and for that reason, it’s also hard to lose once achieved.
I’m not claiming that I have all the answers, and in fact, I believe that we should always be wary of anyone who makes a claim like that. Socrates believed that he was the wisest man in ancient Greece because he was the only one who knew that he didn’t know anything. And I’ve found that the study of philosophy, my love of wisdom, has shown me more and more that I know less and less. Part of my mission in this site is to find my own way. I want to not only achieve eudaimonia for myself, but help others achieve it as well. My ultimate dream is that this site becomes a place where we can strive together to achieve and maintain the good life.
Although this vision may change, I see good the good life encompassing these three things:
- Physical well-being – We all come in different shapes and sizes, and this can mean very different things to different people. However, I believe that we all should do the best we can with what we’re given. When our health is at our peak we can do more and enjoy more of what life has to offer. So part of my push toward eudaimonia is achieving physical well-being through diet and exercise.
- Fiscal well-being – One of things I’ve learned is that if a person is saddled with a huge amount of debt, or simply worried about living paycheck to paycheck and being able to afford their next meal, true happiness can’t be reached. So being able to establish an equilibrium is of utmost importance. For some, this will mean finding new ways of earning money, for others it will mean cutting back and getting rid of things. For most, it will probably be some combination thereof. Most of the time, it’s less about what you have and more about what you do with it.
- Mental well-being – Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. We need to take time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. This is how we figure out what we really want out of life, and also derive (create?) meaning in our life. Often we can only truly focus on our mental well-being after our physical and fiscal well-being are under control, which is why the first two are also so important. But once we have some stability there, mental well-being is of utmost importance, and is arguably the toughest to achieve.
About the Author
J.J. Sylvia IV has his M.A. in philosophy and B.A. degrees in philosophy and communication. He is working on a Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media. His main interests are in the overlap of philosophy and communication.
He has taught philosophy at the middle school, high school and college levels, as he works to show why thinking about philosophy is important to our day-to-day lives. He’s taught courses such as:
- One World: The Philosophy of Globalization
- Unmaked: How To Be a Real-Life Superhero
- Introduction to Philosophy
- Philosophy for Living
- Philosophy and the Good Life
- 2BR02B: Philosophy of Death and Dying
- Beauty or the Beast? Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics
- Digital Videography
- Captology, Or, How do Wii Kinect: An Exploration of Technology as a Tool for Change