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16 of history's greatest philosophers reveal the secret to happiness

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Alexander and Aristotle

A well-stocked Netflix queue can go a long way toward pure and utter happiness, but sometimes there's still something missing.

For those moments, it can help to fall back on the wisdom of history's greatest thinkers: Kierkegaard, Socrates, Thoreau, and the Buddha.

Here's what philosophers discovered about happiness long before orange became the new black.

SEE ALSO: 11 famous executives who majored in philosophy

"There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path" — Gautama Buddha, alive around 500 BC.

Similar the mantra that the journey is the destination, the Buddha's take on happiness puts the greatest emphasis on people finding fulfillment in the experience of living, rather than arriving.

There is no ultimate end goal. For the Buddha, we make our happiness along the way.



"Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness" — Bertrand Russell, lived in early 1800s.

It's out of character for someone like Bertrand Russell, a lover of mathematics, science, and logic, to dabble in something so negotiable as happiness. 

But his idea that happiness can be found in the surrender to visceral feelings of love rings true — and contemporary science seems to be on his side. 



"Happiness is the feeling that power increases — that resistance is being overcome" — Friedrich Nietzsche, alive in late-19th century.

For Nietzsche, the famous mustachioed nihilist, happiness is a kind of control one has over their surroundings.

The German philosopher wrote frequently on the impacts that power (and a lack of power) can have on people's lived experiences. When people resist, they take back their agency. That sense of self can then turn into happiness.



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