Living a “Good Life. ” This is something most people strive for, but what we all question is, what is it that leads to a “good life,” or what does it really mean to have a “good life. ” Most people would agree that whatever makes a person happy will lead to a good life, but happiness with each individual differs. Whether it be pleasure, wealth, or health many can disregard the virtue of true happiness, and their material desires leads to ignorance.
Aristotle’s answer to this is that we must enjoy the proper things in life in order to be happy; and it is through proper activities that we are able to live the Good Life. I would have to agree with Aristotle’s beliefs, because of my upbringing, simple material things will not make me fully happy; one must live a just life filled with happiness. There is this woman named Janice, she s a manager for a major corporate office. Janice believes her happiness and the happiness of her children relies on her success in her career, and how much money she makes.
She will do whatever it takes in order to rise up in the company to get any extra bonus or raise—even if it means stepping on other people to get there. Aristotle would say Janice is not living the Good Life by concentrating on the wealth and mistreating others for her own personal gain, because what she is doing is not a proper activity. I believe Aristotle may believe that the way Janice is living is irrational, and not the “good life,” because her happiness relies on her material wealth.
According to J.L Ackrill from the Princeton university press Aristotle’s argument is as follows: 1) proper activities are those activities that best represent or fulfill the unique nature or purpose of humankind; 2) the unique nature or purpose of humankind is found in that particular quality which separates us from other species of beings; 3) that particular quality which separates us from other species of beings is reason; thus, 4) those activities that best express our reasoning abilities are those activities that will allow us to lead the Good Life; therefore, 5) some activities, like Janice’s activities, are not able to lead us to live the Good Life because again it is not a proper activity. Happiness isn’t simple, and living a good life isn’t easy.
We can’t all just focus on the material; we have to focus on reason, on the virtue of our decisions. I was raise in a Christian home, so by default I was taught about being a servant to others, spreading the word of Jesus Christ, living a good life—according to what God has declared for me. But I believe that Aristotle’s belief of a good life coincides with some of what God has planned for me, by doing what is proper, and in my interpretation what is proper for me is following my path that God has laid out for me.
We all have a purpose to life, everyone and everything. We are pieces to an order, a design t our universe, everything somehow fits together, we see the good and the truth through living justly with values and virtuous lifestyles, doing what makes us happy but only things that are “proper. ” Aristotle believes that happiness is God given, and we need to live right by God.
Courtney from Study Moose
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