Overview: This month we are studying Philosophers from different religions, countries and faiths who have all had an impact on humanity’s thinking. Even though they lived many years apart, in different parts of the world, they each shared the knowledge of the importance of love and wisdom. Confucius’s focus on self-improvement was radical for his day. Aristotle was revered by Muslim intellectuals and profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. al-Farabi was a leader in the Islamic Golden Age and taught how we all must work together. King Solomon taught that the best decisions are made with our heart, not our head.
Week #1: Confucius
Main Message: Confucius is the most important person in the history of Chinese philosophy. He was born in 551 BC in China and strove to bring order and justice to his country. His focus was on how men should be educated to live and work with others in society. Confucius’s teachings focused around a primary thread through all wisdom: “Do not impose upon others what you do not want for yourself.” Confucius believed we are all good but can move away from our innate goodness. Our job is to find our way back to that peace and harmony within ourselves. Once we have harmony and peace within ourselves, we can establish peace and harmony in the world. Confucius’s focus on self-improvement was radical for his day. He wanted to lead others to a peaceful society that was grounded from a place where all men (people) lived in peace.
- We should continually focus on improving ourselves
- Educating ourselves to be the best we can be will last a lifetime
• Aristotle is one of the most influential people who ever lived. Aristotle believed all peoples' concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as "The First Teacher”. Aristotle showed us that the potential for each of us can be envisioned from whatever our form or circumstance is current today. It is our perception of that possibility that has the greatest influence on the outcome.
◦ We can create any life we want
◦ Our perception of events changes with each new experience
Main Message: Al-Farabi was born around 872AD and was a philosopher and scientist. He was renowned during the Islamic Golden Age where ‘the ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr’. He studied with Christian and other philosophers of the time. He loved music and poetry. His greatest work was “The Virtuous City”. Al-Farabi was known to the Arabs as the 'Second Master' (after Aristotle). He may rightly be acclaimed as one of the greatest of Islamic philosophers of all time. Al-Farabi taught that working with one another, with each of us in alignment with our greatest good, was the focus for happiness. Working within your community and neighborhood, sharing your gifts and appreciating and enabling the gifts of others, will make the best life for everyone.
- The people around us are our most important focus
- Sharing our gifts and talent with our neighbors will bring us the greatest satisfaction.
Main Message: Solomon was King of Israel and stories of his wisdom are present in the Bible, the Torah and the Qur’an. He was born around 970 BC and the Hebrew Bible credits Solomon as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem and portrays him as great in wisdom, wealth, and power. Solomon was known for the truths and insights he revealed through his acts. His power came not from bullying or force but from understanding that true wisdom comes not from the head but from the heart.
- We can continually learn new wisdom about ourselves and our planet
- Search for wisdom as though it is a hidden treasure