Is there some realistic procedure for a human to follow such that nothing will ever bother them again and they will still be alive? I would be very much interested in this.

closed as off-topic by Keelan, shane, James Kingsbery, virmaior Aug 5 '15 at 6:06

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  • Various psychoactive substances will do this on the short term (opiates and, to a lesser extent, cannabis). In the long term, one tends to end up more bothered (definitely with opiates, cannabis is arguable). But this isn't philosophy, it's pharmacology. And a brain lesion could do it, but although one would be "alive" most people would argue that it was not a life worth living. But this isn't philosophy either, it's neuroscience. – Rex Kerr Aug 1 '15 at 19:35
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    Are you asking from practical advice? (as in something you can do) or you asking if there are any philosophical views that made not being bothered the goal? – virmaior Aug 2 '15 at 2:42
  • Im going to go with no .. because human. If you find how please tell me how – user2683 Aug 2 '15 at 18:32
  • Take a look at the Stoic concept of apatheia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheia – jeroenk Aug 4 '15 at 13:34
  • Become Nondual. – user16869 Apr 22 '16 at 2:41

This is the basic goal of the project of Greek philosophy that arises from Cynicism and Stoicism -- to be either so deeply authentic personally, or so in tune with Nature that nothing really disrupts ones equanimity.

It got farthest in the Late Academics and Pyrrhic Skepticism.

These two combine in Sextus Empiricus, who elaborated Pyrrhonism in a context cultivated by Academicism, and pretty much preaches a Western analog of Buddhist detachment (which in other ways, given its Greek roots falls far from Buddhism itself -- for instance something like civic peace, a group analog of individual peace and balance, seems to be valued over compassion, although a moderate obligation toward compassion is a corollary).

Sextus' approach to not being bothered was basically to 'bracket' all decisions until they can be authentically accepted.

One must act, but one need not to be committed to the action simply because one has taken it. It is impossible to search its causes for any essential truth, only to tally its probability. And even that fails to a large degree. Nature being inconstant, there is no demand for consistency to be achieved by a person, much less his actions. Beyond that, we can, and therefore should, bracket all considerations where commitment is unnecessary, indefinitely, not forming any opinion, but simply letting them go. That way that there are no pointless considerations complicating the choices beyond the likelihood of choosing the right action based on experience.

Personally, this is a mode I can pursue, and have come close to it at certain points, for years at a time. It becomes a kind of endogenous depression without negative emotional content. One even physically slows down, without that slowness affecting one's effectiveness or ability to act in crisis. It is very strange. And it contradicts a lot of our cultural assumptions about emotion, comfort and effectiveness.

But I have given it up. I feel that we as humans have an obligation to be bothered, and to live with a certain level of tension between our more accepting nature and our drive to think.

  • I believe such thinking is also at the root of Chinese and Indian philosophy, especially in the Chinese concept of Chi and the Indian art of yoga. I would venture a guess that such procedures exist in a great many arts all across the world, we just tend to ignore them in general. – Cort Ammon Aug 2 '15 at 7:00
  • @CortAmmon In saying this is just the Western version, I am not ruling out the idea this is very universal. It is surely one large part of all the things you allude to. But, for instance in Buddhism per se, it is a way of handling compassion. In yoga it is at least partly about increasing awareness. In Toaism, the approach is shown as an alternate framing of what power really is, etc. Academic Skepticism seems to be much more straightforwardly just about not being bothered. – jobermark Aug 2 '15 at 12:38
  • True. I just see the question as a broad enough one that it felt worthwhile pointing out multiple culture's ways of approaching it. It seems to be the kind of topic where having the same idea told multiple ways serves a purpose. – Cort Ammon Aug 2 '15 at 16:27
  • @CortAmmon Chi/qi/ki doesn't necessarily work out that way in all Chinese philosophy, but there are going to be some groups of Taoists that might think it's about learning indifference. – virmaior Aug 2 '15 at 23:27
  • @jobermark any chance you could slightly reword the sentence that seems to make it sound like stoicism is western Buddhist, maybe "Western analogue to Buddhist detachment" ? – virmaior Aug 2 '15 at 23:29

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