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My Summary of the Good Life

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The Good life can be interpreted in many ways by various people. It is pondered by every individual and can be discussed and analyzed in different ways. The following texts have shown me a very different perspective to the good life. One that I would of never thought I would have. Every person can come to their own decisions to define the good life. I believe after one reads the chosen texts, one will have a better understanding and can determine specific arguments and reasons for their beliefs.

Aristotle claims at the beginning that a person’s whole life is included both on earth and in heaven. When a person is in heaven, we can determine whether their life was in fact, a good life. This is his personal opinion but I believe one can only decide for themselves if they are living the �good’ way. Aristotle brings up the eudemonia theory which I translated to supreme happiness. I agree with Aristotle when he claims that Happiness is the ultimate telos (end) because there is no further telos beyond happiness and our ultimate goal to all activities is to be happy. This is an idea that everybody can relate to. We are all striving for happiness and the good. Most people, like my belief previously, would think of happiness as a physical pleasure or honor and this constitutes an imperfect view of the good life. Aristotle explains that one must be taught about the virtuous life and explain it whilst promoting it. Somewhat practicing goodness. My opinion is now, very similar to Aristotle. Happiness cannot be placed on material things. It is a matter of setting a goal and looking past the superficial things that stand in the way.

The Gorgias by Plato is a detailed study of virtue whilst inquiring into a number of subjects. Plato contemplates about what is the worst wrong a person can commit. He determines that committing wrong is worse, since it is more shameful, therefore evil. He also tries to determine what evil is the worst for a person to perform. Keeping in mind that no deed goes un-punished. An appropriate balance of arts leads to a virtuous life. For example an art may be defined as medicine. Medicine is an art because it aims at improving the physical health of those in need. Aristotle tries to separate the good from the pleasant. The pleasant is a false art which is represented by routine or flattery. True arts are something like medicine but an incorrect impression of the good is by the means of the pleasant. The true arts (medicine) have always overruled the pleasant. The leaky jar example is a very good way of describing the inconsistent way of the perceived good life of most of the people in our society. One will always be adding materialistic things into their life (leaky jar) but will never remain happy (the jar has a crack in it therefore never being full). Plato then states that true power comes with the control and order of one’s body and should which involves discipline. Acts justly, live virtuously and not need anything. This was hard to grasp at first. I believe this theory will be more acceptable by people of my generation as time passes and we realize that having it all will not play a part in our happiness. It makes complete and utter sense but one needs to realize the importance of living the right way in order to be happy. Virtue itself is the good life. Plato’s dialogues questions various aspects of proper living and what exactly constitutes a good life. Without understanding the concept, one cannot grasp the idea of being happy with what they already have. I am still questioning; How can I be happy without a car? How can I be happy with just proper living? Or even thinking that you are living properly and questioning why you are not happy.

Nietzsche suggests that we are all inventors, artists and even liars. That are own knowledge is our own make-believe. In other words, this means that we see a tree and we do not notice the finer details. We imagine them in our head therefore we register far less than we think we do. This is an interesting concept that I have never been aware. But we do have to realize that nobody is going to stand in front of a tree and observe every single detail so the argument is valid. Nietzsche opens up a new leaf by claiming that slave’s revolt in morality. Meaning that the rich, violent and sensual are evil whilst the poor are holy. This merely suggests that one should always follow the herd. The herd being the majority of quite, accepting and considerate people. He states that there has always been more people obeying than commanding. This is 100% true since everyday individuals follow the orders of teachers, managers and Governments. We are always following somebody else’s theories except our own. It is simply because the majority is suited to submissiveness. Commanders, today, are almost ashamed of leading and they only do it in the name of God, the law or the people in general. Our moral valuation is largely based on fear and any aggressive people or strays are seen as a threat. The morality of the herd then proclaims themselves as the only true morality and all others are considered immoral. Nietzsche then contemplates powers and urges. For example; if one resists his urge to beat up and neighbor but then gives him a gift, he is sublimating his will to power. Then the neighbor will feel a sense of returning the same affection which will leave great power to the wise individual. He also suggests that true artists will follow any rigorous laws in order to discipline themselves and their art. Which then equals out to obedience and sublimation going hand in hand so the feeling of power reaches a climax in the act of the creation? Most of us lack this discipline but it is the key to something truly beautiful. Nietzsche openly states that the Christian ethic is the only one. Everyone should love his/her neighbor and act with happiness. The herd morality speaks to our herd instincts which are for everyone to follow the same rules and be equal.



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