Each of these philosophies has important points to make, and each has aspects that won’t appeal to some people.
Here’s a life philosophy that combines and modifies elements of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism:
- We all want pleasure and to avoid pain, but our fear of things that are beyond our control is a frequent cause of suffering. And fear is the origin of other destructive emotions like anger, hate, and desperation.
- To reduce suffering, we must accept that nothing is up to us except our deliberate choices.
- We also can choose to accept that everything is constantly changing, and we can practice not clinging to impermanent things.
- Further, emotions can’t be suppressed without great psychological cost. But we can improve our emotional self-control, which includes increasing emotional self-awareness.
- In addition, we can put life in perspective by focusing on existence as a unity. Interbeing is the interdependent coexistence of all things. A popular example of this interconnectedness is that without the sun, the earth, or water there are no flowers or people. Neither people nor flowers, or anything else, exist independently. So when we harm others, we harm ourselves—and vice-versa.
- To avoid causing harm, we must make ethical choices that focus on values such as moderation, courage, justice, and common sense. This includes mindfulness, healthy intentions, thoughts, speech, actions, and livelihood.
- Scientific naturalism best explains the mechanics of the universe. Answers about God or life after death are unknown, but this doesn’t exclude faith.