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Is modern society's prescription for status and a successful life, even by TED standards, valid?

Recently, after geeking out on Michael Sandel and Alain de Botton's online courses and documentaries on philosophies of life, I realized that I had none of my own! (I mean really of my own). And maybe we don't have philosophy in our lives at all really, to think of such things.

I recognize that today's western values (which are spreading) of business success, fame, recognition, professional and intellectual validation (like on TED here), even with the coatings of social and ecological awareness, are as random as the ones in the past of child-bearing hips, warrior skills and noble birth. We can see looking back, that if you didn't follow those prescriptions, you lived a relatively "wasted" life. And while we may shun obtuse caricatures like the "success" of Reality TV "stars" as if in denial of what is truly valued these days, for many of us, if we don't make VP by 34, have an IPO before 30, don't get a standing ovation at TED or aren't doing something with "reach", we are Losers. Yikes!

I want to strive to be philosophically secure enough to know that my life's definition of crafts and vegan recipes* is worthy (*hypothesis). Or am I just wasting oxygen by not participating in the latest world order, even if it seems relatively nicer? The buy-in is always compelling at every age...and then we all die.


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    Apr 4 2012: before I start I gotta say I loved Michael Sandel's Justice course at Harvard university and Alain is one of my fav Philosophers of all time, from his radio show Point of View to his series Philosophy as guide to happiness.

    As a very short answer I refer to Heidegger's claim that western Philosophy only leads to making better stuff and improving technology , not happiness and quality of life.

    it does not matter if you are a rationalist or an empiricist , Modernism after the enlightenment has been focused intensely on products ,

    I totally believe in modernism and I hate conservative and religious ideas , if someone has an answer for sure its not them but no doubt that there are many many things that modern world still can not answer.

    This may sound odd by US had twice as many suicides as homicide in the last 5 years , South Korea is 2nd in the rate of Suicide and Japan is 9th.

    So was Heidegger right ? Are we just making better stuff and unhappy people ?
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      Apr 5 2012: There seems to be no sense of reflection in society at large, and on our own individual scale, every time "progress" is made--whether it be technological progress or a promotion in our jobs. It's too fast and we justify it perhaps by thinking in the secular world, that we only have this life to live, so the "race" is on!

      I think religion does way more harm than good, personally, but I bet that secularism and the realization that this is the only life of maximize: profit, recognition etc. is what makes us go at this un-godly :) pace without stopping to think if it really works. And this is what makes us unhappy even though we have all the stuff we want.
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        Apr 5 2012: I share the same view about religion , I think its a philosophy of life that has been outdated centuries ago

        but the need for transcendent is still there and people need something bigger than themselves to rely onto , though it is missing , a product no matter how good , can give us pleasure but not happiness, as Epicurus says there is a big difference between Pleasure and Happiness and happiness does not come from stuff

        Nietzsche once said God is dead and will remain dead cause we killed him, people did not get it back then but now we understand what he was talking about , the lack of a better bigger purpose in life is taking its toll.

        Modern world is thousand times better than the classic world, but we humans have a great advantage / disadvantage , We get used to things and we want better and better , the race and the urge to go for it is always there and never has been more intense , Schopenhauer's famous WILL.

        Buckle up WILL , the race is well and truly on and it push people like never before

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