Today’s world is full of new and emerging trends. Many people feel lost in the present because the philosophy of the modern age is mostly based on whatever the media relays to the public. Humans require a sense of structure and timeless wisdom that has worked over the years as opposed to feel-good platitudes.
Philosophy has shaped human existence for as long as civilization has existed. Without it, much of what we have gained would have never existed in terms of freedom and prosperity. The modern age is losing its grasp on what has worked in the past which will result in repeating mistakes history should have helped prevent. The modern world is one where philosophy has been lost to us regardless of its availability.
One group of individuals who feel isolated as a result of a lack of philosophy is women. The vast majority of philosophy is geared towards men because it was written mostly by men. Philosophy was mostly born through periods of war and government change, therefore women may find it hard to find a philosophy they can relate to. Women feel that they should have to invent their own philosophy or just go with the flow just to have a place in the world. In the world of philosophy, where can a woman find understanding of how the world works and use it for their benefit?
The good news is that if women search deep enough, despite the fact that the vast majority of philosophy was geared towards men, a woman can find usefulness in many philosophical texts of the past to help themselves in the present. This post will highlight five books every woman should read despite being made by men for men.
Five Books Written For Men Every Woman Should Read:
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- The Way of Men by Jack Donovan
- The Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo
- Enjoy The Decline by Aaron Clarey
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”Marcus Aurelius
Meditations was written by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius mainly as a self reminder to keep himself in check. Marcus knew that ruling over a kingdom required immense responsibility and understood many in positions of power tend to abuse their power for various reasons. Marcus Aurelius was famous for being one of the many people responsible for writing on how to build a stoic mind which would help him maintain his self control.
Stoicism in general was made to keep one’s emotions in check when things prove to be difficult. Meditations was a personal guide for Marcus to remind himself of what was important. Despite the text being written by a man who lived in a time where women probably didn’t have the same rights as men in terms of voting and other areas, the wisdom here can be utilized by any woman even in the present because it isn’t a guide on how to rule a kingdom . Meditations was a guide on how to control and conduct oneself no matter where you are in life.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”Marcus Aurelius
A man or woman is responsible for two things in life: Their thoughts and their actions. Everything not within a woman’s control is not her responsibility. What a woman thinks, she becomes. Marcus was trying to help himself understand what is right and wrong. He was an emperor, but his words can apply to anyone in any circumstance in life. Self-control has no gender. Any woman should be able to hold herself accountable for her thoughts and actions the same as a man should. There is no reason a woman cannot apply the wisdom of Meditations to their own life.
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”Marcus Aurelius
The Way of Men
The Way of Men by Jack Donovan is obviously a book written for men by a man. If one were to try to understand men in every civilization to ever exist, this is the best starting guide to that. Jack Donovan’s short book attempts to define manhood through the basic understanding of what is expected of all men regardless of location, race, or culture. Now, you will ask me “why should a woman read a book about men and what can she gain from this?”
“When someone tells a man to be a man, they mean that there is a way to be a man. A man is not just a thing to be—it is also a way to be, a path to follow and a way to walk. Some try to make manhood mean everything. Others believe that it means nothing at all. Being good at being a man can’t mean everything, and it has always meant something”Jack Donovan
The reason I think women should read from this is so they can understand the world from a man’s point of view. In a sense, a woman is, but a man must become. The four masculine virtues of strength, bravery, mastery, and honor can be applied to a woman’s life if she so chooses to display them. On the contrary, for a man, in order to be seen as a man and not just an adult human male, he MUST have those attributes. A man’s life is constantly about proving himself in a world that sees him as disposable. If a woman can take this approach and realize that nature also sees her as disposable, she may come to appreciate and put more value into her life and actions. It’s definitely worth reading for any woman in the 21st century.
“Strength is the ability to exert one’s will over oneself, over nature and over other people.”Jack Donovan
Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
While this may be a book from a medieval period, the Hagakure can easily apply to modern living in many ways. A book written by samurai for samurai is probably the last book that would interest a woman in today’s society. If a woman is willing to look deep enough, she can find hidden gems about most areas of modern living that can benefit her from this ancient tome of samurai living. This first quote on understanding life can benefit a woman in these strange times.
“If one does not get it into his head from the very beginning that the world is full of unseemly situations, for the most part his demeanour will be poor and he will not be believed by others.”Yamamoto Tsunemoto
The world is a strange place full of strange people and actions. Harboring disbelief every time something strange or seemingly stupid happens means one doesn’t understand that reality is chaotic and doesn’t make sense in many instances. Women as well as men should understand this. Life is so random that, for a woman, sometimes, it’s better to just accept the weird events than to try to break them down and stress herself out in the process.
“Human life is truly a short affair. It is better to live doing the things that you like. It is foolish to live within this dream of a world seeing unpleasantness and doing only things that you do not like.”Yamamoto Tsunemoto
The quote above would be seen as rebellious in the era of the samurai. Despite this, Yamamoto understood that life is short. The best thing for a man to do is live the way he truly loves to live. A woman applying this quote in her life would likely receive more joy and purpose than if she were to stick to the job she hates or live a life expected of her to please people she doesn’t even like. If a woman wishes to even be able to look at herself in the mirror and respect what she sees, Yamamoto’s words in this instance apply to her. Why live for anyone but yourself when you only have so many years to live?
“Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.” Master Ittei commented, “Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.”Yamamoto Tsunemoto
A woman’s life can be filled with drama, confusion, and a concern for the world. Men and women tend to drain themselves in politics, the news, social media, celebrity gossip and other numerous distractions while neglecting their own existence. When Yamamoto talks about matters of great concern being treated lightly, my interpertation is that it is better to take major world events and other areas that you cannot control with a grain of salt. When he talks about taking matters of small concern more seriously, I believe he was discussing personal life. What is within a woman’s control should truly be her concern. Outside events that a woman can’t control will distract her from her “small matters” of reaching her full potential as a human being. The world may not be concerned with the personal life of a woman, therefore, from society’s view, her life is a small matter. So a woman would do better to take the small matters (her life, dreams, goals, family, friends) more seriously than the matters of great concern (world events, gossip, news).
Enjoy the Decline
Aaron Clarey’s book, Enjoy the Decline, isn’t simply something a woman should read. It is something EVERYONE should read. This thoughtful book describes how badly the powers that be have treated everyone. In this book, it is essentially telling people to prepare for the absolute worst that can happen in the present. The reason this book should be read by a woman as well as a man is because it is a book written in the present by an author who is still alive and has understood the underbelly of the modern world in terms of finances and other areas of everyday life. It is genuienly scary how accurate Aaron’s book is in describing the causes of our very problems that men and women face in America.
“Why did you get laid off? The reality is because a bunch of inept bankers, criminal real estate developers, amoral mortgage brokers and corrupt politicians created the world’s largest housing bubble. But ironically, the average man during the Great Recession probably took this personally, illogically blaming his sole self for the entire financial crisis of 2009. Worse still, men across America felt an incredible amount of guilt and shame for not being able to provide for their families. And worse than that, how many men committed suicide because of a recession that was not caused by them? All of this can be avoided in mastering the skill of recognizing what you do and do not control.”Aaron Clarey
Women today likely will feel responsible for losing their job or dealing with people who were genuienly cut throat when in reality, society is actually dissolving from within. This is not to say that one isn’t responsible in some ways for their failures. What this book is describing is to not beat yourself up for the things you didn’t cause. What any man or woman reading this book can do is prepare to find a way to survive and “enjoy the decline”.
Tao Te Ching
“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”Lao Tzu
Anyone who isn’t a stranger to philosophy has likely encountered the Tao Te Ching at least once in their life. Written in ancient China, it’s writer, Lao Tzu, the founder of the religion and philosophy of Taoism wanted to write a book on helping humanity understand nature and natural law. He felt that living a life in line with nature instead of fighting against it was ideal to live a prosperous life.
This approach to life unlike today’s society is based on the belief that maximum freedom as opposed to a structured and ordered world was the way to be truly happy. Any man or woman reading this book should not be put off by the poetic way it is written. There is a reason the Tao Te Ching is considered one of the great classics of literature. Its widsom lives and can be applied to anyone in any generation once they undertand it.
A woman reading the Tao Te Ching may come to realize that a simpler mindset actually makes life less stressful. Her life feels more natural when she doesn’t try to attach herself to the drama and mania of existence, but instead embraces the beauty of simply living. People stress about not knowing everything or not having everything. The wisdom of the Tao Te Ching instructs one to abandon such a complicated existence. It is often better to accept that one will not know everything or “have it all.” We’d all be much happier understanding that.
“Knowing others is intelligence;Lao Tzu
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”
The great thing about the Tao Te Ching is its versatility. The Tao Te Ching can be seen as a guide on leadership both in government and in your personal life. This can easily be applied to any woman as well as a man. If she can’t be a leader of others, a woman should still try to be a leader of herself. She can learn to detach herself to things in life because all things are temporary. A woman can understand simple living both mentally and materially can remove stress from one’s life. A woman can find free will within. A woman can understand working with nature instead of against it in daily life. A woman can appreciate how temporary life is and make the most of it. There is much to find in such a small book that a woman can use in today’s world. All she has to do is look.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”Lao Tzu
In conclusion, for a woman living in today’s cultural and political climate, she doesn’t have to feel lost. There can be wisdom she can apply if she only has the will to look for it. In these ancient words of the past from sources she wouldn’t normally look to for guidance, a woman in our present day can find something that resonates with her. Something that tells her more about herself. Something that can can use to make herself better than the woman she was.
Until the Next Daydream…..