And as the above quote asserts, so are our very identities. The Lao Tzu started Taoism in years ago in China. Scholars say he's 'semi-legendary,' since Lao Tzu just means 'Old Man' and nobody knows who he actually was.
More importantly, he left us the inscrutably playful text the 'Tao de Cheng. Which rules. The country -- and the entire East Asian region's -- emphasis on familial relationships and duty to the state can be traced back to this sage. He emphasised what we today may call grit : finding the value in trying to achieve, not attaining actual achievements.
Work and Money
Socrates embodied the fundamental spirit of Western thought: that you , yes you , have the responsibility of being the author of your own life. Not only was Aristotle one of the first people to lay out ideas about the natural world that we might now call scientific, not only did he lay down some of the best rules for writing, but the guy also gave a critique of living a capitalistic life years before Karl Marx hit the scene. Living for money wasn't a good call, Aristotle observed, since money was only useful when leveraged as a tool to gain something else -- like security or status.
Patanjali put together the yoga sutras, the philosophy underlying the sun salutations you might start the day with. Nagarjuna was probably the most important Buddhist philosopher since Siddartha Gautama. The above quote speaks to his emphasis on being intimate with one's own interior world.
He was a rigorous logician who argued that any statement you make can be in some way falsified -- the takeaway being that if you're looking for truth, it's probably not going to come in words. Rather, it will be through direct experience. Like -- as you may expect from a Buddhist saint -- through meditation. He's beloved by contemporary philosophy nerds like the investor Nassim Taleb and marketing whiz Ryan Holiday.
Seneca anticipated what psychologists today call 'locus of control. People with an internal locus of control think they are in charge of the events in their lives, and are more likely to turn the lemons of life's tragedies into the lemonade of wisdom -- which is precisely what Seneca exhorted the reader to do. Toggle navigation. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon.
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