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RUNNING HEAD: PHILOSOPHY 1

Thinking Critically: Philosophies of Life

Michele Brown

Eastern Nazarene College

East Meets West Western Philosophy and Globalization

CP 290

August 15, 2013

PHILOSOPHY 2

For centuries philosophers have been examining the significance of life. Throughout the content of this paper I will specifically look at the following philosophies, stoicism, existentialism, hedonism, and Buddhism. These philosophies if adopted may contribute to ones’ own answer when determining the significance of their own life. The thinkers have established clear characteristics to each of these philosophies. I will discuss some of these attributes and share my view on what philosophy I identify most with and why. I am planning to additionally share what I do not like about the other beliefs. The philosophy that most resembles my thinking is stoicism. I believe in God our only one true creator. According to a true stoic our destiny or fate is predetermined by the divine. The daily happenings in our lives are inevitable and as a stoic we have the choice on how to respond. Our reasoned choice helps stoics, like me, make sense of the world including both good and tragic events. Although I agree with this thinking I must admit it is still challenging for me at times to understand why God has created a world filled with pain and suffering. Some people who also appear to take on the stoic belief have said that in order to appreciate the good we must experience the bad. Others have said something greater will come from it such as opportunity or learning. In my life’s experiences both good and bad I have applied this thinking and have been able to move forward.
For me peace of mind is also an essential part of the stoic belief system and I agree with idea. Wisdom and self-control are relative in order to achieve this as it is through the divine order in which we have been created. I believe our ability to make choices and respond is ours yet also

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predetermined, as God has predetermined our fate and existence, including how and when this will happen for each one of us. I tie this to the quote from one of our great stoic philosophers Epictetus, “Events do not just happen, but arrive by appointment.” (Page 50) I can identify with the notion that how we respond to our life’s assignment be true, however I believe that God is in charge and has established when our understanding of self-control and wisdom become our own.
In contrast the philosophy known as existentialism focuses on the irrational. The idea that there is no God and we are “condemned to be free” (Page 47) does not support my thinking and beliefs. As a child I was raised to believe in the existence of God creator of heaven and earth. I attribute my belief system partially to my exposure as a child; however I also believe my existence is due to fate. I am unable to rationalize this philosophy as mine for I am where God has intended me to be in universe, including my thoughts and understanding of myself. We have learned that the hedonism philosophy asks us to believe that in order to understand the meaning of life it must be acquired solely through pleasurable experiences. It also suggests that one pleasure should not inhibit the quest for another. I find this belief system to be a selfish way of thinking. As I mentioned earlier as more of a stoic thinker I am confident that God created this philosophy so we may learn more about our existence with an appreciation for the predetermined such as sacrifice. The idea of the Buddhism philosophy consists of the lack of devotion towards any creator we know as God. A spiritual approach is also warranted here. I have a hard time identifying with this philosophy of life as it suggests that one way of learning is achieved through psychological detachment. I do not see how we can remove ourselves from our thoughts and not allow them to
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have an impact on our life. In my opinion the mind is a powerful tool that God has granted graciously and is to be used as he destined us. To conclude I have shared my philosophy which I most agree with and discussed briefly what I do not like about the other viewpoints. As more of a stoic thinker I am able to make sense of the world through the idea that God allows me the opportunity to play along in his predetermined plan for my life.

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