Important Philosophical, Spiritual and Motivational Humans, And What We Can Learn From Them
Life is an amazing adventure, and there are as many interpretations of what it all means as there are people to communicate those meanings. The human being is the most complex phenomena of the universe that we know of, and there’s no way to tell if our interior worlds or our exterior world is more expansive. Thanks to this, many of humanity’s greatest minds have tried to grapple with the problem of life in a way that can best allow us to mitigate the difficulties and suffering we face while developing life-affirming philosophies that help us get through the great adventure.
You’ve heard a plethora of these names since you were born: Jesus, Mohammad, and Gotama Buddha to name a few. Is it any wonder such vastly believed and traditionalized religions exist? Life is an almost unsolvable riddle, and following a discipline can help people squeeze the most value out of it. No matter what religion, doctrine, or general moral principles you follow, a wise person will listen to all of the shining stars humanity has produced, and weigh up the applications in their daily lives for the value of their effectiveness.
This list is a celebration of the minds that have so captivated humanity’s thought, and what we can learn from them. This list includes huge figures and lesser-known philosophers or thinkers that have something important to say, and provide us with a life-affirming method of weathering the toughest storms.
Alan Watts is the philosopher most responsible for converting eastern spiritual traditions into understandable narrative forms for the western mind. His philosophy incorporates the ‘greatest hits’ of Hinduism, Buddhism and the philosophy thereof. His lecture series at a variety of venues gave him a foothold in helping disaffected people realize the beauty of life.
We can learn from him the art of meditation, the art of leaving things ‘as they are,’ when it comes to situations that can’t be rectified through normal rational means. We can also learn the foundational principles of Buddhism and Hinduism from Watts. These include being peaceful with our surroundings, practicing celebration for all things, and meditating so our mental space is uncluttered and functional for empathy.
Alan is also a fan of an early incarnation of ‘the law of attraction,’ in the theory of his that life is so intimately interconnected that it’s impossible to conceptualize. Taking to its full blossoming, this idea has been improved upon in new-age circles as providing the keys to a manifesting a miracle in our lives.
Whatever your belief, and whatever your religion or lack thereof, there is immense value to be found in the words and writings of Alan Watts.
Jordan B. Peterson
Jordan B. Peterson is a professional lecturer at the University of Toronto in Canada. He initially rose to fame after he made controversial videos on his YouTube page about refusing to co-operate with the enforced ‘gender pronoun’ language use legislation that was being written into law. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall in regarding this issue, it’s Peterson’s other videos and philosophical lectures that have the most value.
He is a clinical psychologist who is deeply read in mythology and the stories we tell ourselves to best operate in the world. Treating a multitude of deeply complex clients therapeutically over the years has given him a perspective of the modern mind that he communicates through his preferred platform of public speaking. His chosen talking point is that ‘responsibility is what makes life meaningful,’ and promotes the attitude of ‘sorting yourself out.’
He teaches his students, among many other things, to sit themselves down regularly and ask themselves what small duties they have, that they’re neglecting and in turn, creating unnecessary suffering. He also preaches a self-authorship program of learning who you are. He maintains that writing down the most important parts of our past that make us who we are and creating a future goal to orient ourselves in the world is the most beneficial way to live in the world effectively.
Nietzsche was one of the fathers of modern philosophy and is world renowned for his idealistic and intricate contributions to modern psychological ills. His most famous statement, that “God is Dead” struck a deep chord with the people of 19th century Europe, and despite that statement seeming celebratory as it might with an atheist, it was anything but. Nietzsche believed that the religious and moral principles of society had slowly eroded thanks to the rational empirical mind in search of ‘truth,’ and that this would negatively affect the social cohesion that societies enjoy when they have a common set of principles.
His remedy to this was what he called the ‘Übermensch,’ which roughly translates to ‘The Overman/Superman.’ This is the person of either gender who is able to create the moral values and goals for themselves, without any outside influence. From Nietzsche we can learn self-efficacy, sticking to our moral principles, and doing the diligent self-work to best appreciate what it means to be a capable human.
No matter what mind you consider greatest, you can be sure that there is value to be found in listening to them all. What’s important is defining their meaning and application for yourself. With the ride attitudes, principles, and spiritual orientation, becoming who you want to be might not be so complex after all.