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Chapter of Burkeman’s “What Would Seneca Do?”

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1120
  • Category: Apology

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After reading the chapter of Burkeman’s “What would Seneca do?” about Stoicism, having things in one’s life is being out of one’s control is one reason why living their life in caught up in error and unexamined opinion. At the end of Burkeman’s chapter Burkeman represents that people think they have control over the situation is better than it really is. This shows how people live their life caught up in error because they get mad on how things play out in the future and that feeling of disappointment, they have overwhelmed you because you thought you had control of the situation but in reality, you had not control of it. One example of not having control over something and that shows unexamined opinion, page 40 of the chapter when Burkeman says, “its only by seeing death as part of such a plan that one could ever hope to feel serene about it.” He then ends up saying majority of people fear death, and with death it’s out of control, but if people opinion about death was a great plan and it was supposed happen. Then people would not fear death at all or very slim. What I am trying to say is if people think that everything does happen for a reason then people would not be living their life in an unexamined opinion because the nature of death is out of one’s control.

Living in one’s life caught up in error and unexamined opinion can be a big problem because people would not be living in the ideal state of mind, and to Burkeman that state of mind was peacefulness and calm fullness. Burkeman, says, “go through life under the delusion that it is certain people, situations, or events that make us sad, anxious, or angry.” Everybody takes life with experiences that you gain that are in the instant and this is not for everybody, but some people do not look back and see what’s around them and this means they are living in agreement with reason and this is where the problem is. For example, if something bad happen to one of your family members and you don’t know if he will ever be the same again, you would think the sadness is felt because of that injury. According to the Stoics, nothing outside of your mind can properly be indicated as a positive or negative but, what causes the sadness is the beliefs that people hold about sadness. It’s the experiences the you have had that causes the sadness rather than the happiness because we as people see it to be, but in reality it’s the emotions we connected to the person who is sick or dying and not the act of death and this is what the problems is not living in the ideal state of mind.

Burkeman gives strategies to help with living unexamined opinion and life caught up in error by facing what we fear the most and accepting it. This is by living life with calmness as what I mentioned in my essay. Burkeman also states the calmness cannot be realized “not by strenuously chasing after enjoyable experiences, but by cultivating a kind of a calm indifference towards one’s circumstances”. It is hard to live life without looking forward to anything good that is going to come in the future but also embracing yourself from the negativity that is going to come. Burkeman goes on to explain that it is really important to accept the negative emotions and experiences that we get in life because these experiences will help us grow into a better person.

Prompt 2: On Philosophers at Work

One important connection that I see between Socrates as he appears in Apology and in “The Importance of Afterlife. Seriously”, written by Samuel Scheffler is that philosophers do not fear death at all which is weird. While reading Scheffler writing he says “take for granted that the human race will survive” we only see death as a bad thing for our lives and we as people don’t even realize our loved ones will still be living. (Scheffler 1), then when reading Apology, Socrates says to his accusers, that even though they think they ended his life just to silence him, there now will be more people to replace himself (Socrates). Both philosophers take a new view of dying and do not look at the moment to what’s going on around them but in the bigger picture. When Scheffler goes on to talk about all the people will be living when you die, and he stresses on that and then Socrates stresses on how living will carry on his work and he is looking forward to that on his way out. These two philosophers are both using the same strategy about not living in the moment when someone is dying but the people around you appreciate and that’s what he stresses.

Following, one important similarity between Scheffler’s and Sosa’s text is to follow a happy life, we must rely on the unknowing. In Scheffler’s passage, he says, “some people can afford not to depend on the kindness of strangers, virtually everyone depends on the future existence of stranger”. Scheffler focus is trying to state the afterlife and how everybody will eventually die, there legacy will continue to live on. Scheffler says that trying to follow a happy life may depend on the outcome of achieving something in one’s lifetime, but it can also depend on the afterlife and if your happiness will continue to strive. Then in Sosa’s passage he says “ whether you get to live happily might depend on how things go, but also in the sense that’s what happiness is partly a matter of how things beyond you are”. Sosa is saying that you can not control anything around you to make you find happiness, because in reality things that happen around you is out of your control. We as people must depend on the unknowing around us and accept it, when there’s different situations we have to be ready for it and accept it.

After examining two philosophers, this helps me understand what philosophers really do and how they do it because they examine and write everyday about what people do in this generation on a daily basis and the crazy part about it is they do not question anything about it. They naturally get inside of you and the readers head just to make you think what they wrote, and this makes you think differently of everything around you. They both use the same strategy of connecting real life examples to the readers and fully understanding what he is trying to come up with and have the readers connects back to one’s life.

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