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How to gain Mastery of Life?


Gerd B.Achenbach is a German philosopher who founded the World’s first philosophical practice in 1981. He discovered various methods to teach the virtues of philosophy to others. One such method is the application of a new term- Lebenskönnerschaft. The invention of a new term is important to revive the lost tradition. The new term will drive the attention of the masses to follow up with it. The meaning of this term is life mastery. Without demanding much from ourselves, life becomes boring. Thus, it’s important to understand self and master the patterns of our life. The prevailing trend of Art of Living is different from the concept of life Mastery which is further given here.

Difference between Art of living and life mastery

Art of living Mastery of life
To aim happiness To deserve happiness
shapes life proves life
Makes the way right stands for what is right
Practitioner is flexible Practitioner is upright
Gives meaning to life Fulfills life meaning
Exploring curiosities in lifeCuring dull & boring life
Flees the shadow, and look for light Flees the twilight, look for light & shadow
Gives answer to the question of lifeFind question to which life is answer
care for oneself Care for others
Difference provided by Gerd B. Achenbach

Wisdom is the truest guide of the theory of Lebenskönnerschaft. The theory is devoted to virtue. It tries to deliver the importance of virtuous living. But, this method doesn’t resemble the Socratic Dialogical approach. The Aim of philosophical counseling given by Achenbach is different. This Philosophical practice aims at beneficial criticism. It doesn’t try to discover wrong in a person and put him down, but it tries to encourage person into fruitful conversation. There are many good moves while we play chess, but we only opt for a better one. The same concept is true for our life. There are many ways to live our life, but we always prefer better choices.

“We don’t want to know what courage is but be courageous, we don’t want to know what justice is but be just – and we rather want to be sane than to know what sanity is… ”


Gerd B.Achenbach tries to discover the pattern of arguments which is useful for a positive conversation. He also says that virtue could be taught to others by the means of stories and examples.

Of what use is an argument which leaves the people unmoved?

Paul Feyerabend

Achenbach concluded with the truest example on how life mastery could be achieved. He pointed out that Beethoven was a successful artist. It was possible because Beethoven has looked very carefully at the way Bach and Mozart and Father Haydn composed. He learnt their pattern of composing, and by the use of his intellect, he created his own method. The whole world now appreciate Beethoven not because he learnt from someone else, but because of his originality in what he delivered.

By learning from outside world and experiencing within self, we could Master our life and prove our-self right.

Philosophical Practice opens up the trace of “Lebenskönnerschaft” by Gerd B.Achenbach
Lecture for the “6th International Conference on Philosophical Practice”, Oslo, July 2001

Author: Madhvi

A philosopher, Writer, Traveler, PhD Scholar, Vegan and pet-lover.

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