Does philosophy eventually lead to misery?

That humans are burdened by time. That hope is a curse, and that philosophy and reason just bring misery by dispelling illusions (among other things), or that consciousness is a disease.

Reading the book makes it almost hard to believe he’s married with kids.

You have Rousseau going on about how man was happier in early times and how we are slaves to the judgment and opinion of others. That our desires can never be truly satisfied because novelty is in a losing war against time. Then leopardi saying that living longer isnt good of life is just empty and actually endorses risky behavior, saying we can’t achieve happiness but we distract ourselves. They all seem to agree that we can’t be happy. If that’s true then what’s the point in living, how can they be against suicide.

Not to mention they argue that reason and philosophical thinking is the result of man’s ills, that it doesn’t offer solutions to problems. It just dispels the illusions that make us happy. The same goes for knowledge.

They say no one deserves or is entitled to happiness (so what does that mean about the issues in the world, do we leave them? What about abuse of others?)

The author does a poor job of making it seem like it has a benefit despite what the summary says. In a sense it says there’s no point in doing anything since it won’t bring happiness.

Things of that nature make me wonder if there is really any good to doing it. It seems like all it does is make people miserable. It seems to me that the people who don’t use it live happier not having to question things about their lives. The illusions they have let them live happily. But once introduced to the methods of philosophy then the questioning becomes like some kind of parasite, undoing the life you have carefully wrought. Even questioning the fact whether living longer is even a good thing any more. There’s less and less positives that result from doing it.

Wouldn’t it be better to just live in illusion and be happy?

Haven’t we been down this road already?

Like if people like Richard Feynman did not explain decades ago how shallow is to just live with a limited view of things.

In essence, some may decide to just live in an illusion and be happy, but for the ones investigating the nature of things they are more likely to find much, much more awesomeness and happiness than the ones that limit themselves by choice. Don’t see also how pessimism should lead only to sadness, that old saying that goes like: “Expect the best, plan for the worst & prepare to be surprised” does talk about keeping a pessimistic outlook to things, but the end result is that when a bad situation comes the one that was prepared and not living in a happy illusion is the one that ends up with a happier situation.

Except that isn’t pessimism, that’s still optimism. Pessimism says that we are unable to obtain happiness, well to be exact they say that freedom and happiness are not compatible. That knowledge just brings suffering (and one man’s view doesn’t overturn that). That the illusions we have as children are broken by knowledge, that the more we know the more we are displeased with things around us.

Pessimism has no expectations, especially positive ones. It says that time is a burden to humans and that consciousness is a disease. That awareness of our death is suffering and that we foolishly chase after our desires in the belief that if we just meet them we will be happy, but we won’t. Because we were sold that lie that we must be happy, we deserve it, it is owed to us.

That is essentially what they speak of. There is pessimism the mind set, but this refers to the philosophy.

The dictionary defines the philosophy as a belief that the world is as bad as it could be and that evil triumphs in the end.

Either you’re working from an awful, soul-sucking definition of “happiness”, or pessimism is flat-out wrong. I was happy yesterday. I am happy today. I may not be happy tomorrow, but I’m likely to be happy at some time in the next week. Now, you may say that isn’t “happiness”, but if so, I’d say your definition is fundamentally broken. As the comic puts it, if simply thinking too much about happiness makes you unhappy, somewhere, something has gone very wrong.

Hmm. See, I have the following problem with this statement: the internet.

Seriously, if I were born 20 years earlier, I wouldn’t have access to any of the wonderful things I so take for granted these days. Things which exist solely because we know more about the world. I wouldn’t know that my friend Alice exists, and I wouldn’t know that she shares one of my favorite kinks, and has the kind of bustline worth killing for. I wouldn’t even know my favorite kink actually exists.

Also, due to what we know today, we’re safer, healthier, live longer and more comfortably, and are just overall better off than at any point in history.

What a bizarre and stupid philosophy.

You already started a thread about how pointless philosophy is. Are you going to rehash the same bullshit, like every single one of your other threads?


I’m skeptical of the premise that happiness is something worthwhile. Americas are obsessed with being happy, a cultural mix of status displays and a creepy group conformity. In some other countries if one goes around smiling for no reason people will think you’re mental, or trying to manipulate them. Happiness can be seen as immature, something for carefree children, not thinking adults wrestling with serious issues like war, environmental degradation, or the atomization of society.

I don’t know if there’s any consensus on the topic, but you can find studies indicating that happiness is correlated with selfishness, a lack of empathy, and carelessness when it comes to weighing risks. So it may not be all that great, except for feeling good, which could describe other vices, like drugs or gambling. If reading philosophy shakes you out of your happiness bubble that’s probably a good thing.

Sure, sometimes philosophical enquiry leads us to unpleasant conclusions. So does medicine. So does astronomy. So does climate science. So does…pretty much every field of enquiry at least some of the time.

Besides, the specific list that the OP gives are far from universal truths of philosophy. Several are clearly false IMO, and others are baseless sweeping statements.

No, because somewhere down the road you realise it’s all a load of bollocks and you live happily ever after.

Only if you incorrectly define the term, such that it does.


That’s a good thing, because otherwise problems don’t get fixed. Each generation comes of age, recognizes the injustice and stupidity of the status quo, and does their part to shift it a bit in a more humane and equitable direction.

The illusions we have as children are the problem, not the solution.

I saw this sticker on the window of a dilapidated pickup truck this morning. Couldn’t tell if the driver looked miserable.

*An accompanying ticker read “I (heart) quantum mechanics”.

In your case, and I mean this sincerely, yes. I am sorry you are miserable. Whatever you are trying to work through here isn’t effective.

Bottom line: Life is Suffering. Buddha said this THOUSANDS of years ago. That has NOTHING to do with Philosphy’s goodness or badness, it is Life. Focus on how to manage your head given this Truth. Heck, Buddha has a few ways - and eightfold path even! - meant to help us manage our heads given this truth.

We each must choose how to engage our lives. What you have been trying has clearly not been working. Try something else.

Still missing the point, and the proper definition of it when when “pessimism” is talked about in Philosophical issues.

You can’t exist as a sapient being without philosophy just like you can’t speak without an accent. So the question is simply should you put more time and effort into thinking about things than you absolutely have to?

I think so. That’s what makes life interesting. But that’s just me thinking about things. Maybe thinking isn’t your thing, so do whatever floats your boat. But I’d argue that on the whole it makes life better, not worse. Not sure how that maps onto a poorly defined term like “happy”, however.

Indeed, by defining “philosophy” as “thinking” then everyone engages in philosophy with every breathing moment.

The OP falls into the trap of straw-manning and circular-arguing the concept of “philosophy” as thinking a certain way (and in a certain way) that necessarily results in something called misery.

Do certain philosophies lead to misery? Probably.

Do certain philosophies lead to happiness? Most certainly.

A couple things that are separate from each other:
[li]If you don’t find it worthwhile to comment on a particular topic, please don’t threadshit.[/li][li]Generally we ask that reports be kept private (except for spam) otherwise they can be seen as antagonistic.[/li][/ol]
I do agree that this is a related topic to a previous thread in IMHO, though I think the question of whether philosophy is worth studying can be seen distinctly from whether the study of it leads to misery. My take is that this is better suited to IMHO rather than Great Debates so I am moving it there.


FWIW any of us who read and participated in that past thread understand that the meat of this op is a complete rehash of the past premise: how our poster’s life has been made miserable by exposure to philosophy. It’s of course up to you to decide if what this OP is doing a forbidden behavior or not and I appreciate that my stating what I see it clearly as would not be permissible.

Close. I’d say it’s something like “structured thinking” or “organized thinking” or perhaps “deep thinking”.

In my personal definition of “philosophy”, everyone has to do it at least some of the time, but I wouldn’t call thinking of the “what should I order at McDonald’s” variety to be “philosophy”. But “what are my goals in life, why am I here, how do I relate to other people, is the world even real or just an illusion, etc” are all philosophical questions that most people think about at least sometimes throughout their lives.

At the minimum, living as a conscious being in the world requires a crude mental model of that world, and one’s place in it. That’s philosophy. Or at least a philosophy. Not everyone is good at it, necessarily, but everyone does it to some degree.