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Individual Discovery

Ma. Daniela del Hierro

Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito



According to the Oxford Dictionaries philosophy is the study of the fundamental
nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic
discipline. Nonetheless I like to keep things simple, philosophy is being able to question
every aspect of your life and trying to find answers that would satisfy your criterion, thus
philosophy is personal. This piece of work focuses on philosophers Baruch Spinoza and his
theory of mind and body connection, which are subordinate to impulses, Sigmund Freud
and the importance of the unconscious, and lastly Schopenhauer and his theory that by
finding your essence youll be able to discover the essence of the universe. What connects
all three philosophers is the discovery of the individual, so that higher knowledge of life
and happiness can be met eventually.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Research ..........3
Chapter 2: Worldview.8
Chapter 3: The Future..9


Chapter 1

Individual discovery is necessary for the understanding of the universe and the
happiness of the self. Baruch Spinoza states the unity of Nature and God, saying that they
are the same thing, thus the mind and body are also the same thing. He believes that all
exists as one substance and that the mental and the physical are different attributes to one
same substance. Then all that exists are only modifications of God or Nature. Spinoza
writes, I shall consider human actions and desires in exactly the same manner, as though I
were concerned with lines, planes and solids. (Ethics, 129). He also points out that nature
produces phenomena that is far more complex than anything human being could create;
undeniably the human body alone exceeds in complexity any human creation. He also
argues against the doctrine of free will; stating that the physical activity of our bodies is
corresponding to that of the mind. The mind being less active that the activity of the body,
which has more to do with sensing. Although the body does not move unless the mind is in
its active form, meaning physical activities are connected directly to those of the mind. He
gave God a material quality. Spinoza admits that human beings are free to an extent, that of
which they can restrain any moderate impulses as long as they are not strong desires (such
as violence) which we cannot overcome. At the conclusion of the Ethics, he writes, If the
way which I have pointed out as leading to this result (i.e., power over the emotions by
which the wise man surpasses the ignorant man) seems exceedingly hard, it may
nevertheless be discovered. Needs must it be hard, since it is so seldom found. How would
it be possible, if salvation were ready to our hand, and could without great labour be found,
that it should be by almost all men neglected? But all things excellent are as difficult as
they are rare. (Ethics, 271). In cases where people cant stop their impulses, they ought to

think that they chose the desired thing by their own free will, but free decisions coming of
this nature are illusive. In every single case the individual is not aware of the causes, but
only the action itself. Thus Spinoza concludes that emotions and desires vary accordingly to
the body needs. This is how human decisions can either be attributed to thought or a matter
of impulse. Evidence that the lack of free will exists are thoughts, which we cant freely
decide to remember or forget; forgetting or remembering are natural processes.
Freud in the other hand has a special focus on sexual origin and the nature of
phobias, which leads him to the developing of a clinical treatment for treating such
disorders. The aim of the method is to re-establish a harmonious relationship between the
three elements that establish the mind, by digging and resolving the unconscious repressed
conflicts. The method established by Freud matured out of Breuers earlier discovery,
which states that when a hysterical patient is encouraged to talk freely about their pasts of
all their symptoms and fantasies, the symptoms will eventually begin to decrease until they
are eliminated completely, once the patient was encouraged to remember the initial trauma
which caused everything (Thorton, 2013). Turning a new direction, away from his early
attempts to explore the unconscious using hypnosis, Freud was able to develop this type of
talking cure. Acting upon the believe that the conflicts were hidden in the deepest sites of
the unconscious mind. So Freud got his patients to relax in a position where they were
positioned away from strong sensory stimulation, with the presence of the analyst
(although quiet and out of sight), then he encouraged them to speak with no fear and
without thinking on what was being said; since he thought the unconscious will lie behind
what was being said. This method is similar to that which involved the analysis of dreams.
In both cases the super ego is deactivated to some degree, allowing material to filter

through the conscious ego which, if not the case, will be completely repressed. The process
is in essence difficult and picky, for this reason it is primordial for the analyst to help the
patient recognize and overcome its natural resistances. Although Freud saw the natural
resistances as a sign that he was on the right path in discovering the secrets of the
unconscious, which caused the patients condition. Dreams are also very important, since
the super ego functioned in a less effective manner during sleep. Thus Freud made a
distinction between the manifest content of a dream (what the dream appears to be about on
the exterior) as well as its latent content which is the unconscious (repressed desires,
wishes, which are in essence the real goal to discover). Correct interpretation of dreams,
responses to carefully proposed questions, and the free talking of the patient will lead to the
discovery of the ultimate problem in the unconscious. Although it is important to mention
that when the problem came from any event in the sexual developmental process the
content of the family relationships need to be taken in account. For the cure to be effective
the analyst needs to make the patient conscious of the unresolved conflicts possessed and
also to encourage and guide the confrontation. In a sense the goal of psychoanalytic
treatment can be understood as a way of self- understanding (Thorton, 2013). Possibilities
of resolution are the channeling of sexual energy into the accomplishment of social, artistic
or scientific goals (sublimination); Freud saw as the motivating force behind great cultural
achievements. Another possibility is the conscious, rational control of past suppressed
events (suppression). In all cases the cure is made possible through a kind of release of all
that was hidden in the unconscious, which is the basic cause of neurotic illness.
Schopenhauers though on the world as a will relies on a lasting philosophical
reflection that if one looks deeply into oneself, then one will discover not only ones

essence, but also the essence of the universe (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2011).
Since one is part of the universe as is everything else. Basic energies of the universe flow
through oneself, as they also flow through everything else. So Schopenhauer believes that
one can come in contact with the pure nature of the universe if one is able to contact with
ones inner being. German Idealist philosophers such as Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, came
with the principle of self-consciousness. With the belief that the actions of the self-
consciousness depicted a self-creative process similar to divine creation. So the German
Idealist maintained that dialectical logic mirrors (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) are the
structure of both individual and social where a structure of reality as a whole, that should be
conceived of as a thinking substance (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2011).
Although Schopenhauer opposes the metaphysical elevation of the self-consciousness of
traditional German Idealists he believes that the supreme principle of the universe is to
understand it through self-analysis, and also that we can understand at a philosophical level
the world as the many manifestations of this general principle. What Schopenhauer calls
will refers to a mindless, aimless, non-rational urge at the basis of our instinctive
impulses and at the bases being of everything. He states that our body which is just another
of the many objects in the world, is given to us in two different ways: physical and
subjectively. The physical is how we perceive or body, intentionally moving it, feel it
(along with pleasures). The subjective is rather how we are conscious that we are moving it
and perceiving it as an external object. From this observation Schopenhauer states that
among all objects in the universe there is only one relative to each of us, and that is our
physical body. It is important to mention his famous pessimism, which claims that as
individual we are unfortunate products of our own epistemological making, and that we are
fated to fight other individuals, and want more than we can ever have.

Chapter 2
Self-discovering is essential for the understanding of the universe and facilitates
path to happiness. As it comes to the philosophical aspect I believe that the most important
approach is to investigate the mind and how it works. Freud has influenced me in this
thought since he was the one to state that the analysis of the unconscious will lead to
resolve the problems of the mind. Once these problems are solved and one is cured, the
path to happiness may be followed in a less conflicted manner. Psychoanalysis has become
so influential today that when people speak of psychoanalysis they frequently refer
exclusively to the clinical treatment; however, the term properly designates both the clinical
treatment and the theory which underlies it. Since I am cursing a time in my life where I
need to encounter the root of my bad habits, which I already know what it is. So now I am
working towards the resolution of the past buried memory to work my path towards the
search of my own happiness.
I believe the presence of God is not necessary for one to be a moral being. Baruch
Spinoza states that Nature and God are the same thing, and obviously they are connected,
just as the mind and body. I believe this is true since I believe some kind of God exists and
that he is omnipotent, present in every single place or thing. Since God is a perfect being,
and he created himself creating everything else along (he/she is the universe) it is present
everywhere. I apply this as an explanation of the phenomena in nature, and how anything
created by humans cant be as complex. I also think that our natural impulses which reside
in our strongest desires are acts that we cant control, and we simply act upon them. A
clear example will be when one is exposed to extreme situations where starvation is a
character; then we will lie on our savage instincts setting morals aside in order to fulfill our

bodily needs. Spinoza states that the evidence that free will exists are thoughts, which cant
freely decide to remember or forger, I dont agree with this aspect since we are indeed able
to forget and those memories are left in the unconscious and if there are conflicts the
Freuds psychoanalysis will come into place.
Since as humans we are a result of Gods creation we must have some of his
essence in ourselves, this is why I agree with Schopenhauer as he states that as we discover
our own essence we will also discover the essence of the universe. I also believe that if we
are able to find the essence of anything of his creation we are going to be able to figure the
universe out. Although I dont agree with his pessimism as he states that we are unfortunate
product of a superior beings creation, and that we are meant to fight other individuals
(compete) and also always want more than what we can have. I believe that we are blessed
to exist in this planet that doesnt needs us humans to keep flowing. The fact that we always
want more is not a bad thing but rather an inspiring one, since we (as competitive beings)
will aim for that we are wanting. Besides being that we possess a sense of reason the
harming of other to get what we want is subjective to the purpose and cause. We are beings
that search for not only our own happiness but also for the ones that we love. Feelings are
what separate us from being animals that just mate for the preservation of the species. And
these aspects we have to thank to our creator which is also a part of us and is everywhere.
Chapter 3
When seeking for answers concerning God and the universe it results imminent to
go through what is called a self-discovery; for being able to reach higher knowledge and be
a happy individual. As it comes to my future philosophy will continue to play an important
role since it results recent the questioning made towards religion. My family being Catholic

doesnt comply with my insecurity and lack of faith since they cant understand how
someone cant follow their teachings. It may be due to the fact that they did followed their
parents teachings, well its preferable to let yourself question and learn. Perhaps no one will
be able to know all the secrets behind the human creation, but by learning of all sorts of
points of view one will not be as narrow minded as the Westborough Baptist Church which
attribute damnation to the homosexuals. It results absurd how a loving God will damn a
human being based on its sexual orientation. Well sorry mom and dad but I also question
my sexuality and I dont find anything wrong with it. Homosexuals are not going to hell
and if you think that is the case then pray. My only certainty is that my way of thinking will
evolve along with my questioning, until an answer that complies with all my beliefs and the
probably I will say that my philosophical though is done, but I dont believe it possible
since we cannot answer Godly questions as if we were God. So all that is left is to discover
oneself and seek for happiness.
As a result I end up believing that we are able to discover the essence of the
universe as we discover our own, since the universe (God) is present in us and everything.
The result of our fears and phobias is our restricted path to happiness. This is the reason
why Freud and his psychoanalysis theory are basic for the solving of different conflicts
afflicting the unconscious. Finally I believe that we were created with a purpose which is to
make ourselves happy and since we are creatures that possess reasoning we will also seek
for the happiness of the people that we love. And after we are done with reaching for our
happiness we will keep questioning the ways of God and nature until death can give us the


Works Cited
Oxford Dictionaries. (2014). Philosophy. Retrieved January 9, 2014 from:
p.l.e. (August 29, 2012). Baruch Spinoza, "Human Beings are Determined". Retrieved
January 9, 2014 from: http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/spinoza.shtml
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (November 19, 2011). Arthur Schopenhauer.
Retrieved January 9, 2014 from:
Thornton, S. (2013). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved January 9, 2014 from:

Source cards

p.l.e. (August 29, 2012). Baruch Spinoza, "Human Beings are Determined". Retrieved
January 9, 2014 from: http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/spinoza.shtml
Internet source mentions that interpretations of manuscripts are erratic; I do believe this is
as true since we are not perfect. This source will help me with my essay since I believe the
different interpretations of sacred texts lead to erratic conclusions.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (November 19, 2011). Arthur Schopenhauer.
Retrieved January 9, 2014 from:

Internet source contains Schopenhauers thought on the world as a will stating that by
looking deeply into oneself one does not only discovers itself but the essence of the
universe. This will help me for my essay since I do believe that by looking at our own
essence we may discover unimaginable things.


Thornton, S. (2013). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved January 9, 2014
from: http://www.iep.utm.edu/home/copyright/

Internet source talks about psychoanalysis and how it serves to cure certain disorders or
traumas. This will help me in my essay because I do believe the analysis of the
subconscious should be treated in order to overcome different traumas. Researching the
mind and how it works is extremely important to understand the human being.