Free philosophy Kindle books for 16 Sep 18

Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius

Written in Greek, without any intention of publication, by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. 
Ranging from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the nature of moral virtue, human rationality, divine providence, and Marcus’ own emotions. 

But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation and encouragement, in developing his beliefs Marcus Aurelius also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a timeless collection of extended meditations and short aphorisms that has been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and readers through the centuries.



THE GREAT PATH TO NOWHERE

by Robert Trainor

The following is a brief synopsis of The Great Path to Nowhere.

Given the reality of the stupendously large universe that we live in, it is one of the most peculiar facts of our existence that we insist, as individuals, upon our own importance. Logically, it’s easy to see that we overestimate our importance and continuously give significance to things that are essentially trivial. I’m sure almost everyone will agree that in a million years, the thoughts, actions, or feelings that we have today will have no relevance whatsoever. But we live our lives as if they do.

Why? Why are we so obsessed with our own importance and the importance of those people, events, and desires that populate our existence? To find an answer to this question, we have to examine the ego, that part of the thought process that calls itself “I.” It is impossible to understand the ego without understanding the nature of thought because the ego arises out of thought. It is not that the ego came first and produced thought; rather, thought came first, and from out of thoughtâ??the thinking processâ??the ego arose. If you observe your thoughts, you will see how quickly “I” begins to intermingle with almost all the thoughts that go through your mind. This “I” is a product of thought, and although we identify this “I” with ourselves, it is, in reality, nothing more than an invention of thought. If you continue to look closely and honestly at the origin of thought, you’ll begin to sense, or see, that there seems to be some hyperactive being within you that is very concerned with its status, its feelings, its fears, its ambitions, and its sense of being wronged.

After you observe your thought process for a while, it begins to seem like it’s been taken over or hijacked by a crazy and rather evil guy. From everywhere, we’ve been essentially programmed by our environment, and the programming of thought includes, as a mandatory installation, the crazy and evil “guy.” Or, depending on the circumstance, it could be a crazy and evil woman. Infesting your mind, the evil one takes charge and leads you on its own peculiar and rather horrific journey.

One can’t possibly go into this question of silencing the ego unless one realizes the role that thought plays in our lives. In a way, for most people, thought is like the elephant in the roomâ??it completely dominates our internal and external world, but if you ask people what dominates our internal and external world, probably not many people would say thought. One reason for this blindness is that thought enjoys a favorable reputation. It’s true that thought has done many positive things, particularly in the scientific sphere, but on the other hand, thought is the underlying cause of all our psychological troubles. However, I am not advocating a state of mind that is absent of all thought, which does have many practical applications; rather, I am discussing a mind that is totally free of the egotistical activities of thought. And if you observe your own mind, you’ll see that almost all your thinking is based on the activities of the egoâ??all your fears, hopes, desires, lusts, angers, depressions. The whole vast menagerie of the ego’s motley world.

So there has to be a realization that thought is the real problem in our lives; that somehow thought has caused us, both individually and collectively, a vast assortment of anxieties and dangers. Thought, and particularly the nature of our thinking, is the problemâ??not the solution. This realization is the first step towards sanity, and it shouldn’t be underestimated because it is the key to a wave of discoveries that are available to those who wish to live a life that is not ruled by the ego. One can attempt to control the ego, but it’s not an entity that can be controlled except in minor superficial ways. To really come to grips with the ego, one has to come to grips with thought. Thought is the problem, not the solution.



How to Change the World in Seven Years: Reflections on Being an Authentic Individual

by Steven Smith

Dive headfirst into life’s big questions and discover what wonders lie beneath the surface. Go on a philosophical journey with author Steven L. Smith as he reflects on what it means to be alive and offers powerful insights into getting the most out of life.

How to Change the World in Seven Years is a collection of thought-provoking aphorisms (“a pithy observation which contains a deep truth”) about what it means to be an authentic individual.

“A good aphorism lingers in the mind long after you have read it; a great aphorism changes your life.”



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