I am reading a book called ‘How One Might Live’ by Todd May. It is not a self-help or spirituality based book, but a book on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Now the book is describing 3 stages in the development of philosophy or thought patterns. I don’t make a value judgement that one is better than the other (That is for you to decide).
First Stage is “How One Should Live?” Socrates asked this question and this tradition still continues in some form. Here we depend on some external sources, which dictates to us a certain pattern and style of living, which is considered acceptable by that tradition.
Second Stage is “How One Should Act?” Definitely some might say different acts constitute life and so on. Post scientific revolution and after the thinking of Kant & Bentham, people started thinking more on one’s obligations and less on living per se. They have to be fulfilled. The essential difference with the first stage is that the obligations are not given by any cosmological order, but it could be decided by democratic or other means.
Third stage is “How One Might Live?” This stage is initiated by the thinking of Nietzsche, continued in different ways by many thinkers, especially Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze. Some might think that this will be a stage of anarchy, where anybody could do as they wish. In another common way, we could think this as a way of ‘freedom and responsibility’. This is a way that is giving a thought to different possibilities that could be actualized beyond the one which is already actualized.
I would surely write more on the 3rd phase in the coming days; none of us may perfectly fit perfectly into one category. The question before us is, where do I stand? Can I look at the other two possibilities? It may help us in solving some of the major struggles in the world, especially those in the name of religion, morality, migrants and refugees and so on…