A Self-Sufficient Philosophy
Even if the study of philosophy has never interested you, I have news for you: you have a philosophy. Everyone does. The simple act of living and making decisions in life reflect a philosophy. That’s all a philosophy is – the mental rules used to make decisions in life.
Philosophy is like a tool-box, and the study of philosophy is like studying which tools are the best ones for working on your life. This can be done consciously, but like an immediate need to pound a nail, many people will unconsciously grab whatever tool is handy to get the job done. Applying the wrong tool can lead to tedium and injury to ones life, but the right philosophy makes life seem easy and pleasant. The right set of tools can even lead you to happiness and contentment, a state of existence all too fleeting in the modern world.
In my studies, I’ve discovered ideas that connect the philosophies of Aristotle, Existentialism, positive psychology, true wealth economics, and emerging technologies and modern cultural movements (such as tiny houses, the Maker movement, and voluntary simplicity – also called ‘living deliberately’). At some point in the future, I would like to compile a book on these ideas. For the moment, I will try to blog regularly and share them here. A sort of rough-draft if you will. I will tag these entries in the philosophy category of the site.
Self-Sufficiency vs SocietyLike existentialism in general, the articles I plan to present will focus on the philosophy of individuals. I don’t plan to spend much time exploring philosophy around groups and society, such as Marxism. I take Ayn Rand’s approach that any group… is only a number of individuals. As I plan to show, it is proper that a person should have their own needs (including their philosophy) understood and met before considering the needs of others. (If you read my article on Self-Sufficiency and Spirituality you will see in the comments that this was a point of contention that was not adequately explained to a lot of people reading it.)
That being said, as an individual living in a society, it is impossible to ignore society. However, Aristotle and Existential philosophy has a lot to say about the proper role of an individual in a society.
Self-sufficiency does not mean being a hermit. As we shall see, Aristotle’s view of self-sufficiency is very inclusive of the individual’s society. He calls the ideal life politically self-sufficient which is the concept of being a self-sufficient person, but still actively engaged in your community.
What Is Philosophy Good For?
- What does it mean, as an individual, to be happy and live a good life?
- How do I, as an individual, live a life in harmony with my society and environment?
These are the questions that philosophy answers. And the different ways these questions can be answered create different philosophies.
Self-sufficiency is a purely human concept. Like philosophy, a mentality of self-sufficiency is a tool for living a good life. Its foundation is based on the concepts of freedom and responsibility. As I’ll show, self-sufficiency is at the heart of Aristotle’s philosophy as well as Existential philosophy.
A mentality of self-sufficiency, as I plan to present it, allows you to achieve maximum happiness in life with a minimum of suffering. Time is a key factor. A common proverb that captures this concept is, “With time you can make money, but with money you can not make time.” The same is true for happiness in life.
A mentality of self-sufficiency allows you to maximize time spent pursuing happiness and minimize time spent in anything that could be called non-happiness. A self-sufficient attitude helps one avoid pitfalls in life like debt, unpleasant careers, and unpleasant relationships.
In the ensuing months, I plan to write about my philosophy and view of the world, but it’s important that everyone reach their own conclusions. Don’t listen to others (like parents or friends) on this. Don’t listen to me: Use what you can, throw away what you can’t, but consider all with an open mind. Make up your own mind. Go out and find your own answers. That is the sense-of-spirit embodied in self-sufficiency and existentialism – the freedom (and responsibility) to make your own mistakes and find your own answers.
That being said, there have been many great thinkers whose advice is worth heading. I hope to explore some of these thinkers and their writing in future posts.
Above all, I encourage discussion. Please leave a comment and share your viewpoint.
Discussion is gold.