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Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness by Alain de Botton

Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness

by Alain de Botton


Title Details

Running Time
2 Hrs. 24 Min.
User Rating
  5.0  Stars Based on 1 rating
In this 6-part documentary, popular philosopher Alain de Botton examines six philosophers and what they had to say about living a happy life and how this wisdom can apply to us today. In each part Alain de Botton travels to where the philosopher lived and takes a look at the lifestyles they each led which influenced their philosophies.

In part one de Botton investigates “Socrates on Self-Confidence” and what it takes to live an examined life. He looks at how to separate oneself from the following herd of those who don’t think much for themselves.

In part two “Epicurus on Happiness”, de Botton looks at what it really means to live an Epicurean lifestyle and the importance of friends, freedom, and self-sufficiency. He points out how Epicurus leads us away from the material life and the influence of advertising in order to be happier.

In part three “Seneca on Anger”, de Botton examines the great Roman philosopher Seneca who witnessed much anger gone out of control as a tutor to the emperor Nero. In our stressful lives that often drive us to anger Seneca has some sound advice.

In part four “Montaigne on Self-Esteem”, de Botton introduces us to Michel de Montaigne who invited thinking people to view life with a certain sense of humility, questioning the importance of education towards living a happy life.

In part five “Schopenhauer on Love”, de Botton presents the ideas of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who viewed love as a biological drive to propagate the species. By viewing love in this manner one frees oneself from basing their happiness entirely on romantic love.

In part six “Nietzsche on Hardship”, de Botton gives us Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous ideas on “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. By enduring hardships and pain and a certain amount of danger, Nietzsche argues that we can reach greater heights of happiness far from the comfortable and dull satisfaction which many people settle for.

Overall it’s an excellent series with ideas coming from Alain de Botton’s book The Consolations of Philosophy, along with interviews of everyday people talking about these philosophical ideas which are interspersed throughout the documentaries. Each documentary runs about 25 minutes and they are broken up into separate videos on YouTube so you can watch whichever ones you’d like. Enjoy this documentary series on some of the great philosophical ideas about happiness.

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