New Year's Good Intentions

Video Transcript. To see the video, click here.

Dr Janin:

I had some time to read some philosophy, and I thought: Well, these philosophers, thinking about life for so many centuries … I wonder if they managed to stick to their good intentions. And I found this wonderful book which is about – not “boere troos”, but Die Troos van die Filosofe.

The first one is Schopenhauer. 19th century. Lived in Frankfurt, of those days, in a house on the river Main. And he, with his good intentions, he had a very strict agenda.

Working for three hours in the morning. Playing – one hour – his flute. Rossini. Dressing up for lunch. Real dressing up for lunch – in his tails. Eats lunch. An enormous lunch. At the Englischer Hof am Rosmarkt. Doesn’t talk to anyone while he is eating, but may chat afterwards over coffee. Then goes to the library of his club and reads The Times newspaper, because he says The Times is the newspaper that informs him best about the misery in the world. Then he walks for two hours with his poodle on the riverside. In the evening, he goes to the opera or the theatre where he gets very worked up about the disruptive latecomers and the people coughing. He would have needed Boost Creative Solutions, obviously.

His happiest thing in life is his French Poodles because seeing them makes him instantly happy and makes his heart joyous.

So, from that philosopher, we can choose some tips for coping with the misery of the world.

I checked something also for the workaholics, and I looked up on the great Nietsche. Nietsche was a product of Swiss precision, but he had his epiphany that life can be different when he travelled to Italy and encountered the more Mediterranean lifestyle. But – nevertheless – his most productive years – he spent them with a rather strict regime.

Living in a chalet in the Alps. Up every morning at 5. Works till 12. Hikes in the mountains up to the top for 5 to 7 hours. The view at the top is the reward. The evenings, he spends alone in his room. He eats bread with ham and eggs. And he goes to bed early. And his take on this is: How can you become a thinker if you don’t spend at least one-third of your day without people and without passions and without books.

All that hard work and unsuccessful love affairs. We all know that this famous Nietsche had a huge physical and mental breakdown, and that was the end of his career when he was not even that old. The idea actually is that it was due to syphilis after his visits to the bordello. But he claimed he had only touched the piano.

So, what are the lessons for us to create ourselves some good habits that work for us this year? Well, choose good habits that work for you. Climb mountains while we can. And – for music – play the flute, if you must, but avoid the piano. Good luck. Good luck to all of us!