Documentary inspired and hosted by Alain de Botton, based on his book The Consolations of Philosophy.
The book consists of six meditations on how three ancient and three modern philosophers can help us overcome our perennial anxieties about unpopularity (Socrates), poverty (Epicurus), frustration (Seneca), inadequacy (Montaigne), heartbreak (Schopenhauer), and difficulties (Nietzsche). If we attend carefully to the unjust treatment Socrates was accorded by his fellow Athenians we realize that "in the hatred unfairly directed towards an innocent philosopher we recognize an echo of the hurt we ourselves encounter at the hands of those who are either unable or unwilling to do us justice"
From Epicurus we learn that the best things in life are free, that "when measured by the natural purpose of life, poverty is great wealth; limitless wealth, great poverty"
From Seneca we learn that "what makes us angry are dangerously optimistic notions about what the world and other people are like." Whence "our greatest furies spring from events which violate our sense of the ground rules of existence"
Seneca faults our thinking for this by assuring us that it is better to be prepared for the worst, for the worst is surely possible. So that when it happens (and it can happen any time), we won't succumb to inconsolable frustrations.
Montaigne teaches us that we tend to place unreasonable value on our reasonableness. For Montaigne "misplaced confidence in reason" may well be the "well-spring of idiocy - and, indirectly, also of inadequacy"(Steven C. Scheer)