Frequently Asked Questions
What is kirism?
Kirism is a philosophy of life. Most philosophies and religions accumulate and are not the creation of any single person. Existentialism, for instance, is not the creation of any particular person, though there are many names rightly associated with it. Religious philosophies like Buddhism and Confucianism have namesake creators but come to us via the voices and practices of countless commentators, disciples, and followers.
Kirism is a philosophy of life with its roots in many soils—existentialism, stoicism, deconstructive postmodernism, philosophy of science, and social psychology among them—and is the creation of Eric Maisel, who has been developing it over the course of 50+ years.
Why is kirism needed?
People crave a philosophy of life. Typically, they embrace a philosophy or religion for a while and find something worthy in it but remain with the feeling that it doesn’t match their understanding of the nature of reality or how they would like to live.
Life purpose and meaning issues remain, basic questions about what to do, where to turn, and why to do anything persist, dark, unsettling feelings circulate, the thing called “depression” descends, anxiety is experienced as a constant companion, and life feels chaotic, meager, and unlived.
Can any philosophy of life make a real difference with all of that? Kirism can. A philosophy of life that makes sense to you can make all the difference in the world. When you acquaint yourself with the difference between life purpose and life purposes, the value of self-authorship and self-obligation, and the other ideas of kirism, you will find yourself calm in your new understanding and clear about how and why to proceed with life.
What are the main ideas of kirism?
If you were to ask a physicist, “What are the main ideas of physics?”, you would expect her to smile and reply, “That’s a little hard to say.” It isn’t that she couldn’t tell you lots of things. She could tell you about the laws of thermodynamics and about fundamental forces like gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, and the weak force. She could tell you a lot. But if you demanded that she capture the essence of physics in a single sentence, she’d likely shrug and reply, “Well, physics tries to describe how the universe behaves.”
Kirism attempts to describe the nature of human reality and to suggest how, given that exact reality, a human being might want to live so as to have his life match his best intentions. It asserts that a person can have the experience of his life mattering, even if the universe is indifferent, even if life’s obstacles are relentless and enduring, even if his own personality is an obstacle, even in the face of undeniable cravings for ease and safety, and even despite the tremendous pull of self-interest. If a single sentence is wanted, akin to “Physics tries to describe how the universe behaves,” it would be: “Kirism tries to describe the nature of human reality and, given that reality, how best to live.”
Are there prescribed kirist practices?
No. There are suggestions for practices but no prescribed practices. Kirists create their own individual practices. Some practices may be shared, because a number of like-minded kirists see a given practice as valuable, but they are shared because of affinity and not because of dogma.
What practices are suggested? To take one example, kirists are encouraged to create and maintain a daily practice of their choosing, as daily practice deepens an experience, leads to increased competence and mastery, increases the chances that a person will actually live his or her life purposes, and is a primary way that long-term goals get accomplished. But the idea of daily practice is a suggestion and not a demand. No specific practices are demanded.
Are there costs associated with kirism, like programs, classes, books or souvenirs to buy?
No. There is no kirist store, no kirist training programs, and nothing else of that sort. We are happy to receive your financial support via your donations and patronage but there are no costs associated with kirism and nothing to buy.
How can I be a part of kirism?
By living as a kirist. In the future, there may be kirist gatherings and ways that kirists meet one another, communicate with one another, support one another, join in common causes and create shared experiences. But even if that were to happen, the primary way for you to be part of kirism is by living as a kirist. To begin, you might want to take our challenge and live as a kirist for two months. To learn more about taking our challenge, please visit here.
What should I do if I’m interested in learning more about kirism?
Read the 12 books of Volume 1, which are free to you and which are located here at this site. Also take a look at our Kirist Living Guide.You can read them at this site or download them as pdfs. Reading more about kirism is the starting point. If what you read makes sense to you and maybe inspires you, we hope that you will take our challenge and begin to live as a kirist. It is a powerful and beautiful way to live that may suit you perfectly.