June 21, 2022
Religion and Happiness
Are religious people happier?
Religion has a profound effect on happiness. Multiple studies have shown that religious believers are generally happier people, an effect that is more pronounced in poorer countries. (more...)
May 25, 2022
Erich Fromm on How to Be Happy
A new Daily Philosophy book
Daily Philosophy has launched a new book, “Erich Fromm on How to Be Happy.” In it, Dr Andreas Matthias takes us on a journey to the world of the Frankfurt School and Social Psychology, in search of wisdom on how we can live happier and more meaningful lives today. (more...)
January 17, 2022
Taking the Crowded Bus of Life
Epictetus on the Stoic attitude
The ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus (50-135 AD), one of the most important Stoic philosophers in history, recommends seeing obstacles in our lives as opportunities to improve. (more...)
January 5, 2022
Meaning, Value, Death, and God
What makes our death bearable? How do we create meaning from the certainty of our own deaths? Prof. John Shand analyses the question. (more...)
December 13, 2021
The Stoic View of the Self
Being in someone else’s shoes
For the Stoics, everything that happens to us seems to have a special significance that the same event wouldn’t have if it happened to someone else. (more...)
December 6, 2021
The Hermit of Bundala
What is especially intriguing for students of eremitism is the intimate interplay of personal motives and philosophical commitments behind Nanavira’s decision to live alone. (more...)
Solitude and Contentment
Lessons from hermit lives
Hermits have always lived apart from the societies of their times. But do they have the secret key to happiness? What can hermits teach us for achieving happiness in our own lives? (more...)
Three Modern Hermits
Following one’s own way
We visit three very different hermits: Agafia Lykova in remote Siberia, Mauro Morandi on a Mediterranean island paradise, and Lincolnshire nun Rachel Denton. What unites them and gives their lives meaning? (more...)
Gardens of Refuge
From the Garden of Eden to urban allotments, gardens have accompanied and enriched human history and culture from ancient times to now. In this article, Ian James Kidd traces the spiritual history of gardens as places of refuge from the world. (more...)
A rhetoric of slowness and speed has been used by philosophers since the ancient periods to characterise and assess different ways of life. Buddhist, Confucian, and Daoist discourses exploit associations, literal and figurative, between slower styles of life and virtue, on the one hand, and hastier styles of life and vice, on the other. (more...)
Huts, Homelessness and Heimat
Chōmei and Heidegger
We saw how, for Heidegger, we let things be what they are through experiencing them in the full compass of their relations to nature, human life, and the ‘holy’ and mysterious. Chōmei, steeped in the Buddhist conception of the interdependence of everything, would concur. (more...)
The Hermit of Suwarrow
The adventures of Tom Neale (1902-1977)
Tom Neale spent a total of fourteen years alone on a little island in the Suwarrow Atoll in the South Pacific, where he found peace and happiness in solitude. We have a look at this extraordinary life. (more...)
One Hundred Days in a Hermit’s Hut
Jane Dobisz on living alone in the woods
In her honest and entertaining book “One Hundred Days of Solitude: Losing Myself and Finding Grace on a Zen Retreat,” Zen teacher Jane Dobisz recalls the three months she spent as a young person alone in a hut in the woods, bowing, chanting and meditating. (more...)
Hermits and Happiness
The long tradition of leaving it all behind
Hermits, from the Greek “eremites,” (=men of the desert), are found in all cultures and at all times. In this article, we look at the phenomenon of hermit life as a whole, before we go into more detail in future posts in this series. (more...)
Does Gratefulness Work?
The science behind gratitude diaries
Gratefulness has been proposed as a way to increase one’s happiness in life. But does it work? We look at the science of gratitude diaries to find out whether gratefulness has a positive effect on happiness. (more...)
Does Gratefulness Make Happy?
Brother David-Steindl-Rast on gratefulness
Brother David-Steindl-Rast is one of the most prominent advocates of gratefulness as a way of life. In his famous TED talk, he explains how gratefulness and attention lead to a happier life. (more...)
Grateful to No One
How does gratefulness work?
It seems that we should only be grateful for something good done to us, a “benefit” received. But already the Stoics had seen that sometimes, benefits come disguised as burdens. On the other hand, Greeks bearing gifts are not always to be trusted, even if one would like to get one’s hands on the gift. (more...)
What is Gratefulness?
Gratitude, gratefulness and our view of ourselves
One could also say that gratitude is always gratitude to someone, while gratefulness emphasises what we are grateful for, even if there is nobody to be grateful to for that thing. (more...)
The Rhetoric of Refuge
On the wish to retreat from the world
The rhetoric or metaphor of refuge from the world has largely disappeared from religious, social and ethical debate. The contrast with the past is striking. (more...)
Living Epicurus Today
What is a 21st century Epicurean?
So has Epicurean living become so expensive today as to exclude most of us from practising it? Does one need to be rich in order to be able to afford the simple life? (more...)
Happy in a Concentration Camp?
It's possible, says Viktor E. Frankl
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who, because of his Jewish descent, spent the last six months of World War II in a German concentration camp, which he barely survived. (more...)
Epicurus: The Wise Man and the Fool
What’s wrong about being a happy fool?
The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus once wrote that “the misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.” But why would that be so? It becomes clearer when we look at Epicurus’ theory of desires. (more...)
It’s A New Sun Every Day
Heraclitus and Epicurus on accepting change
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said that one cannot step into the same river twice. But what does this really mean? And what can we learn from this for our own lives? (more...)
Old Age and Death
Epicurus on trouble in the soul
The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus emphasises that, in a world that works according to physical laws, nobody ought to be afraid of either the gods or one’s own death. (more...)
The Real Happiness Machine
Ray Bradbury on living and dying well
In many of Bradbury’s stories we can find an entire philosophy of life that is well worth discovering and adopting. (more...)
Aldous Huxley’s “Island”
An even braver new world?
The last book of visionary writer Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), Island, is a bold attempt to envision a utopian society that provides its members with everything they need to achieve happiness in life. (more...)
Bertrand Russell on How to Find Happiness
The Conquest of Happiness
In his book “The Conquest of Happiness”, Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) presents a theory of happiness that is broadly Aristotelian. Russell thinks that what makes us happy is an active life, directed by a deep and sustained interest in the world. (more...)
How Happy Does This Make You?
Daniel Kahneman on how to measure happiness
Happiness researchers are faced with the question how to reliably measure happiness in surveys. A paper by Kahneman discusses Direct Utility Measurements, the Experience Sampling Method and the Day Reconstruction Method as three approaches that allow us to measure how particular activities contribute to changes of happiness throughout a person’s day. (more...)
Can we measure happiness in a survey?
The difficulties of measuring self-reported happiness
Happiness researchers are often required to determine the level of happiness of a population in order to evaluate policies that might affect it. One way to determine population happiness is through surveys. In this post, we discuss some points that one must keep in mind when designing a happiness survey. (more...)
Can We Be Wrong About Being Happy?
Kahneman’s objective happiness
Can we be mistaken about our own happiness? Proponents of subjective happiness measures would say no: one is as happy as one feels. Proponents of objective happiness would try to measure happiness “objectively” and could thus show that one is mistaken about one’s own happiness. (more...)