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Do You Know The Meaning of The Good Life?

The Meaning of a Good Life

The Meaning of a Good Life

One of the oldest philosophical questions is the meaning of living well. Philosophers have delved into the hidden complexities of how should one live and what is the concept of the good life.

Being honest, trustworthy, kind, and principled is one way to express one’s goodness, in the moral sense. Being virtuous, righteous and selfless has always been given priority over the other ‘good’ things like pleasure, wealth and power.

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Do You Know The Meaning of The Good Life?

Do You Know The Meaning of The Good Life?

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-good-life-4038226

thoughtco.com

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Key Ideas

Plato And Socrates on Living a Moral Life

  • The Greek philosopher Socrates stated that it is better to suffer and die than to be corrupted and use one’s wealth and power in a dishonourable way.
  • Plato claimed that being morally good has an inner harmony, while a dishonest, wicked person is always at unease, and in a disharmonious state of being.

Morality and Religions

  • Believers Of God, both in east and west, believe that good, pious deeds and intentions are rewarded by God; many people do not receive their reward in this life.
  • Hindus believe that Karma will ensure that their good deeds will be rewarded, while evil actions and desires will be punished, either in this life or in future lives.

Hedonism

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus was one of the first to declare, bluntly, that what makes life worth living is that we can experience pleasure. Epicurus praised all kinds of pleasures. But he didn’t advocate that we lose ourselves in them.

Epicurus clarified that the higher pleasures like friendship, academics and virtue are big parts a good life.

Feel-Good Experiences

The concept of hedonism takes into account visible and subjective experiences. The concept of having feel-good experiences in plenty and ‘living the good life’, is dominant in the Western culture where outward or external pleasures are given value.

A Fulfilled Life

Aristotle has a holistic approach to the good life. If a person feels happy, satisfied, and content, and is in a positive state of mind, his life can be said to be a good life.

He agrees with Socrates about being morally good to live well. Certain objective conditions like virtue, good health, prosperity, respect from others, and luck come into play for a truly fulfilled life.

A Meaningful Life

Having a wife and child, along with a day job does not necessarily provide meaning and happiness in a person’s life.

Having a cause greater than oneself, or pursuing a hobby, research project, or artistic creation provides a source of meaning in a person’s life, lifting the overall happiness.

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One of the reasons why Stoicism is enjoying a revival today is that it gives concrete answers to moral questions.
Aristotle gave us an alternative conception of happiness

It cannot be acquired by pleasurable experiences but only by identifying and realizing our own potential, moral and creative, in our specific environments, with our particular family, friends and colleagues, and helping others to do so. 

Pursuing happiness
Pursuing happiness

We all say we want to be happy, but happiness is often out of our grasp. Maybe the problem is not so much with us, but with the concept of happiness.

A better concept i...

Eudaimonia

Unlike happiness, eudaimonia is not an emotion: It is a state of being or doing. It is more stable and cannot so quickly be taken away from us.

Eudaimonia is a much deeper and richer concept than happiness and is viewed in terms of living a worthwhile life. It has everything to do with hard work.

Socrates and Plato on Eudaimonia

Socrates equated eudaimonia with wisdom and virtue, stating that he who is not wise cannot be happy.

Plato broadly agreed with Socrates. Plato writes that justice and injustice are to the soul as health and disease are to the body. For Plato, an unjust man cannot be happy because he is not in ordered control of himself.

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Defining Eudaimonia
Defining Eudaimonia

Eudaimonia is a term which comes from Aristotle’s work called ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ and means individual well-being and happiness. It combines the prefix eu (meaning good) ...

Plato And Eudaimonism
  • Plato believed that because we feel unhappy internally when we do something wrong, eudaimonia is the highest feeling of moral thought and behaviour where there is real happiness from within. Happiness, according to him, was about living in the pursuit of various virtues, central to flourishing.
  • Plato never mentioned the term eudaimonia, but his writings on the concept of courage, justice, wisdom and moderation point towards the same domain of wellbeing.
Aristotle And Eudaimonism

Aristotle in his many works has provided numerous interpretations of eudaimonia, explaining it as something reflecting the pursuit of virtue, excellence and the best within us. According to him, eudaimonia is a rational activity aimed at the pursuit of what is worthwhile in life.

Having an intention to be virtuous was an important factor for eudaimonia.

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