Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, February 10, 2014


So today in class we talked a lot about Pyrrho and Epicurus. Pyrrho was the skeptic that took his ideas a bit too far (though I happen to really appreciate his philosophy). Epicurus is sort of labeled as a hedonist, but I myself would debate that title. The main philosophy of Epicurus that we've been focusing on is his idea on death. He held the idea that we did not exist before our births and we don't typically worry so much about that time that we weren't alive, so why should we spend so much time fretting over what will happen after our death? He focuses on living a life of happiness and fulfillment and finding pleasure in our time on earth without being overly concerned with what happens when we leave. He also talks about focusing on our past pleasures in times of distress as a way to ease pain. This is a very interesting concept to me. 

We didn't have a lot of time in our group to really discuss these concepts and ideas, so please feel free to discuss your opinions on these philosophers here. I happened to really take interest with both Pyrrho and Epicurus and would love to discuss them more.

So this reminds me a lot of Pyrrho and skepticism...
If you haven't seen The Big Lebowski, you should.
Anyway, back on track.
We spent a good majority of our time discussing our upcoming group project. We finally picked our topic: philosophy in social networking. As of now we have it established that Facebook will be one segment, Tumblr one segment, and Twitter or Instagram be one segment. Before we left there was mention of also doing a segment on Youtube. This would mean we would have four presenters. We tried to divide the rest of the group into smaller groups to do research with each person planning to present. I know that was a bit rushed, so if you are confused about which social network you are researching for, you can ask questions here or we can discuss it further on Wednesday. If anyone that volunteered to present has any questions or issues, we can also discuss that here or in class. By no means is this all set in stone, and there's plenty of room for us to alter how we choose to approach this topic. If any of the presenters have any ideas on what aspects they want to discuss on their social network, let the group know so we can maybe have a pattern in how we all present each one. I personally have several potential ideas including looking at the way social networks allows people to share ideas, the way social networks and the people we choose to add/follow narrows our exposure to ideas within our selected groups, privacy issues, and blind following of ideas. Would love to hear any other ideas people may have!

Also, as far as the readings for Wednesday, I'm not sure if anyone took it upon themselves to assign pages, but we should probably make sure all the material gets covered in some fashion. If it would make it easier, we can just assume that everyone is in charge of posting about the material assigned from the typical text you read from. I know some of us stick to the Little History and some of us consistently post about America the Philosophical, so try to do what you usually do if you can. (:


  1. Learning Not To Care: Epictetus, Cicero, Seneca
    We should not let things we can not change or control defeat us in our happiness. It doesn't do any good to get upset at what we can't control. If it rains while you in the park having a picnic, your elderly grand parent pass away, or maybe a meeting gets cancelled. Their basic idea was that we should only worry about those things we can change.
    Epictetus encountered many hardship, but learned how to keep his mind free of the of the pain and worry as his body took on much pain.
    Cicero use getting old as an example. he states we can't control it; it's a sure thing to happen, so it's not about getting old it's how you deal with it.
    Seneca philosophy was not that we have a short life and grow old. He focus on how we use our life. That it shouldn't be wasted and we should make the best of the time we have. He states that even if we had a thousand years many would still say it's too short. Plenty can get done with the time spent here as long as the right choices are made.
    So, Live your life to the fullest and live everyday as if it's your last and there shouldn't be any worried about it being too short.

    FQ: What was the name of the painted porch in Athens where philosophers used to meet? p. 29 Stoic

    DQ: Do you allow uncontrollable things to ruins your happy day?

    Here is a paraphrase version of the Stoic handbook.

    1. First of all, thank you SO much for responding! I've been waiting all day for someone to post something so I could have a chance to actually respond again, haha.

      In response to your discussion question: because I have anxiety and panic disorder, small things that I can't control often overwhelm me and cause panic attacks. My therapist has actually been working to help me come to terms with the things that I have no control over and not let them cause my emotions to get out of hand. I do have a bad tendency to change moods quite frequently, and I'm not even tempered in the slightest. Little History talks about walking out your door and it beginning to rain, well, if that happened to me, I'd probably have a few colorful words as a response, and probably be agitated until the sun came back out!
      I wish shrugging off the little things were easier because I feel that it is important to understand you can't control them and therefore shouldn't let them worry or upset you.

    2. I understand the feeling. It is hard I use to be the same way. The only thing is when the doctors would prescribe me meds I wouldn't take. I felt I was already screwed up and the pills would worsen the situation. I have learned to stay a little calmer. It's funny my aunt and I was talking about this on Sunday, how I don't have the anxiety attacks anymore. I believe it's a growing process it doesn't come easy to do. You will get better. The rain doesn't bother me like it use to. I will now go forward with my plans in it and I do not own an umbrella I just deal with it. One day you will be able to too. We always get better with time.

    3. Zachary VanDusen12:26 PM CST

      Comment: I do believe that I let uncontrollable things ruin my happy days. I'm not alone either, many people do. It makes since though, why would we stress over things that we cannot change either way?

  2. I will have you Philosoraptors know that I signed in to Facebook, just so I can stay connected while doing our report. Oh, but it will be deleted after this. I was surprise all my friends and info was still in there after being off for three years. Kind of scary too I tried to sign in with my name difference rearranged, but my email was still in there and it wouldn't let me.

    1. Yeah, Facebook is one of the worst I've seen about holding on to information. I tried to delete my facebook recently and found that I couldn't do it. I would have had to email them and request that my account be deactivated or something like that. I'm not sure if they ever changed that process, but it kind of worried me that it was that difficult. I basically stopped putting anything even remotely personal on my facebook.

    2. I know right! I know before I cancelled my account I deleted all the photos I posted. Guess what? When I signed back in they all popped back up. FB be holding on to all your information no matter what. I don't think you can escape it.

  3. America the Philosophical was a large read this time around, but I believe the two main points it hit on were Ralph Waldo Emerson, and William James. Both of these men were "thinkers" from the ivy league. The book gave short details on their lives and theories found on pages 66 through the end of the required reading.

    FQ What strange act did Ralph Emerson admit to doing after his wife passed? AP p.66

    Link: Here is a nice game for any of you to play in celebration of our decision on the research project


    1. That was cool and funny! I got 7 right.

  4. Zachary VanDusen12:34 PM CST

    I was definitely, Intrigued by the way of life of the Stoics. Its inspiring really. It opened my eyes to how much I stress over irrelevant stuff. Things that cause sadness to me that really shouldn't. If I can apply that way of life to my own life, I can find more happiness. And the way epictutus, Cicero, and Seneca lived, they found happiness. They also had a lot of pride.

    FQ: Which Stoic to his own life at the demands of Nero?

    DQ: Were you inspired by the Stoics? Do you agree with their way of living?

  5. Here is a perfect chance to practice what I just read. I was nearly ready to post a comment and my computer decided it was time for me to update. As this is something I at least didn't notice I could control, I will try not to be too irritated by it.
    I got a tumblr account for our project, but am feeling overwhelmed by the volume of material it thinks relates to philosophy. I think a lot of it is just annoying quotes without much philosophical content, but maybe I need to look farther. If anyone could tell me where to look more specifically, it would help me research as I am not familiar with the site at all.

    DQ: Epictetus, Cicero, and Seneca all believed they were able to achieve a lot in their lives because they had control over their emotions. I think it is because they had control over their focus, and thus were able to control their emotions. Do you think this is true? or if it is purely emotional mastery, is that something you would like to try and do too?

    DQ: Seneca believed people wasted too much time not working towards a goal and so looked back on their life when they were older with fear. This seems to be a very different view on how Epicurus thought we should live, working as little as possible (if we don't find it fulfilling) and spending as much time as possible doing things we do like. Although a balance is probably in order, do you agree with one more than the other?

    FQ: On pg 69 of America the Philosophical, Robert D. Richardson wrote, "Emerson dealt with trouble by turning to ____" (life)

    link to quotes by Emerson http://www.inspirationpeak.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?search=Ralph+Waldo+Emerson

  6. FQ: The name 'Stoic' came from what word? (Hint: it is also the name for the porch in Athens where the philosophers used to meet.) - Stoa (LH, 28).

    FQ: Which of the philosophers from the readings started out as a slave? - Epictetus (LH, 29).

    FQ: What other group of philosophers are the Stoics similar to in the sense that they practiced maintaining a calm state of mind? - Sceptics (LH, 29)

    FQ: Which philosopher from the readings wrote the book On Old Age? - Cicero (LH, 30).

    FQ: What Ancient Greek said, "Life is short, art is long"? - Hippocrates (LH, 31)

    FQ: True or False: Was Cicero's attitude regarding death a pessimistic one?

    DQ: Is embracing a stoic mindset worth the possibility of becoming "cold, heartless, and perhaps even less human" (LH, 33).

  7. FQ: According to Chapter 5, what does it mean to "be philosophical?"
    FA: Accepting what you can't change

    DQ: Is what we feel always a matter of choice? Do we have full control of our emotions?

    This quote grabbed my attention, "Our attitude to what happens is within our control even though what happens often isn't." Good piece of advice!

    Link: I found some quotes by Epictetus that could be applied to everyday life http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/epictetus.html

  8. Aaron Caveny3:21 PM CST

    I think everyone including me let things out of our control effect our happiness.

    DQ: How much control do we actually have in terms of what makes us happy?

    FQ: What was the "official" date that Stoicism was founded? - 313 BC

    Link: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hDJZKFWPnY4