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Why are you alive? How should you live? How can you turn your life into a work of art? How can you live an authentic life - that is, live the life that you were meant to live?
If you have ever posed yourself these kinds of questions, you're in good company. Philosophers known as "Existentialists" have posed these questions about our own lives and developed some very useful theories and practices around them.
In this course you will learn to examine your life and the choices you make from the standpoint of freedom, meaning, and community. You will learn what kind of projects give meaning to your life.
The course consists of:
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|Section 1: How to live|
|Why are you alive? Find out about the two key questions in your life: How to make a living and How to live.|
How to live - textPreview
|Section 2: Fear and Laziness|
|Fear and laziness are two things which keep us from living the life that we want to live, according to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Find out how to choose your own path to live an "authentic" life. The exercise asks you to examine the role of fear and laziness in your own decisions.|
In this narrated slideshow, you will learn about Friedrich Nietzsche's life, his main books and his core ideas such as the Death of God, Good and Evil, the Over-man, and Amor fati. After watching, you should have an understanding of who he was, what he thought, and how he inspired the Existentialists.
Fear and laziness - exercisePreview
|Section 3: The eternal return|
|The eternal return is a key idea of Nietzsche. He believes we can use it as a criterion to make choices in our lives. Find out what it is, and whether you can use it in daily life to live the life you truly want to live.|
The eternal return - Nietzsche's text
The eternal return - exercise
|Section 4: Abundance|
|Living from a position of abundance is very different than living from a position of scarcity, Abundance is one of the reasons that we have to give shape to our lives. Can you make the shift from what you take to what you give? How could that affect the way you live?|
In this narrated slideshow, you will learn about Georges Bataille's life, his main books, his core ideas of surplus expenditure and the "Accursed share". After watching, you should have an understanding of who he was, what he thought, and why it matters to us for our understanding of abundance and the surplus of energy we have at our disposal in our lives.
Abundance - text
Abundance - exercise
|Section 5: Meaning and the Absurd|
|What if there is no deeper meaning to our existence? The philosopher Albert Camus thought that this was the case, and he called our desire for meaning absurd.Find out how you can use the absurd to live a life of passion and to be proud of being human.|
In this narrated slideshow, you will learn about Albert Camus' life, his main books, and two of his core ideas: the absurd hero and rebellion. After watching, you should have an understanding of who he was, what he thought, and why it matters to us as we try to give shape to our own lives.
Meaning and the Absurd - textPreview
Meaning and the Absurd - exercisePreview
|Section 6: Radical freedom|
|We are radically free, and radically responsible, according to philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Find out how you can live a life without excuses.|
In this narrated slideshow, you will learn about Jean-Paul Sartre's life, his main books, and two of his core ideas: existentialism and "bad faith". After watching, you should have an understanding of who he was, what he thought, and why it matters to us as we shape our lives through our actions.
Radical freedom - text
Radical freedom - exercise
|Section 7: Freedom as practice|
|Our freedom is limited by institutions and language, according to the philosopher Michel Foucault. Find out how you can question structures of domination and engage in freedom as practice.|
Freedom as practice - text
Freedom as practice - exercise
|Section 8: Community|
|We are born and live amidst others, but our consciousness is radically individual. We live in implicit and in chose communities. Find out how our choice of community helps to determine our identity and gives shape to our lives.|
Community - text
Community - exercise
|Section 9: Projects|
|The key to giving meaning to your life is to engage in projects. Find out what characteristics these projects should have, and what they do not need to be. What projects will you engage in?|
Projects - textPreview
Projects - exercisePreview
|Section 10: Life as a work of art|
|According to Foucault, we should be able to turn our lives into a work of art. Find out why this matters and how to go about doing it.|
In this narrated slideshow, you will learn about Michel Foucault's life and his main books. After watching, you should have an understanding of who he was and what he thought.
In this narrated slideshow, you will learn about Michel Foucault's core idea of Power/Knowledge. After watching, you should have an understanding of why this matters to us to question forms of dominance as we engage in freedom as practice.
In this narrated slideshow, you will learn about Michel Foucault's core idea about the care of the Self. After watching, you should have an understanding of why this matters to us when we engage in freedom as practice to turn our lives into a work of art.
Life as a work of art - exercise
|Section 11: Love and Beauty|
|Ultimately, what is it all for? Are there values that are so important that they matter more than us? For me, these two values are Love and Beauty. Find out what these values are for you.|
Love and Beauty - text
Love and Beauty - exercise
Karim Benammar is a philosopher specialized in Thinking Techniques and the Philosophy of Abundance. His vision is to help people think about the paradigm shift from scarcity to abundance, about giving meaning to their life, and about creating value.
Of mixed Dutch-Algerian ancestry, Benammar grew up in Holland before going to study philosophy in England (BA, Sussex University, 1987) and the United States (Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University, 1993). Fascinated by Japan, he continued his philosophy studies at the University of Kyoto. He was Associate Professor at Kobe University from 1996-2002 and at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences from 2003 to 2007.
Since 2002, he has focused on public philosophy, giving lectures and workshops to organisations and companies. He is connected to THNK School of Creative Leadership and The School of Life in Amsterdam.
He is author of Abundance (2005), Reframing - the art of Thinking Differently (2013) and editor of the collection Thinking about Money and Value (2014, in Dutch).