The idea of sharing with you my favourite philosophers has gotten the better of me, so I’ve composed a few short sentences about a few of those whome i admire and follow the most. Nothing I say though, can do their wisdom, virtue and elegance any ounce of justice; let nothing I say dare form a complete picture of these greats in your own mind – do you own thinking. Here then, in my opinion, are a few of the most informative, inspiring, and influential philosophers of all time…
Seneca – His letters are a must read for any student of the wonderful arts. I highly recommend his letters on the shortness of life, on tranquility of mind, and on the constancy of the wise person. Seneca’s writing style is witty, precise, and speaks so much truth. If you don’t know who Seneca is, then take a look here.
“It is not that we have a short life that is the problem, it is that we waste an awful lot of it.”
Socrates – This one is difficult because we know so little about the great man. But the story of his life and the way he went about living it are to be admired by even the most extreme philosophy skeptic. The best reading source of Socrates is this from his younger but no-less famous student Plato.
“A life un-examined is a life not worth living”
Nietzsche – A controversial figure, but a man with many thought-provoking, insightful and wise thoughts. He is famous for his belief that ‘God is Dead’, whilst being an advocate of christian philosophies. He brought us Superman. Nietzsche believed as do I, that we should all strive to do what we can in life with the short time that we have; and push ourselves beyond our capacities – where we’ll discover that we can do much more than we tough. He changed the world of philosophy by bringing to the forefront, a style that hadn’t been seen before. I recommend you watch this documentary to get an insight into his life of turmoil, euphoria, disgrace, brilliance, and eventual insanity.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
Einstein – Many wouldn’t consider him a philosopher, but that’s exactly what he was. He was a philosopher before a scientist, and its worth noting that some of the best philosophers are also very good students of science. Einstein spoke great words about love, creation and teaching. He was an advocate of simplicity, as best shown in his cooking method of boiling eggs in soup to save time.
“Love is a better teacher than duty.”
Bruce Lee – It is undoubtable that Bruce Lee was one of a kind. But not only because of his phsycial ability: for he was also a man of great philosophical thoughts and remarkable wisdom. His recorded thoughts are a combination of study from thousands of books including those from Krishnamurti, the ancient greeks and Lao Tzu. Instead of forming his own philosophy per say, he instead brought together, from various teachings, what he considered the most valuable things one should know to be able to live the best life they can. His book Striking Thoughts is the ultimate collection of his ideas.
“Be like water: when you pour water into a cup it becomes the cup; when you pour it into a bottle it becomes the bottle. Be water my friend.”
Alain De Botton – Not exactly what we would call a philosopher – that is, in the same sense as the above names, but a philosopher of the modern day. Alain is the founder of the school of life, which is a fantastic foundation that through philosophy, educates the world on how to live, be happy and do good. The school of life has, hands-down the greatest YouTube channel in existence. Here you’ll find everything from videos about stoic philosophy, to mini-bios on ancient history and philosophers, interviews with food queen Nigella Lawson and more. The videos are short and sweet, but very informative. Alain is the author of several best selling books, including the highly rated: The Consolations of Philosophy. I have read this myself and its definitely worth a few hours of your time – especially if your new to philosophy.
“What is fascinating about marriage is why anyone wants to get married.”
One final addition I will make is the Author Kahlil Gibran. He wrote probably my favourite book of all time – The Prophet. I’m unsure as to whether he was the first author of the book, but his version is a must read – for just about everybody. One of my favourite lines from the book is: “ If this is my day of harvest, in what fields have I sowed the seed, and in what un-remembered seasons?” Grab his beautifully written book here.
Who are your favourite philosophers and thinkers? Share them below.