Human Ideal is a very subjective idea across the board. There are many factors that influence a person’s perspective on a prefect human ideal. The most prevalent factor seems to be the culture of the society. The culture and the society I was raised in brought me to the finalization of my personal human ideal. People should live to fulfill the ultimate good of happiness without stepping on others to reach it and at the same time to avoid extreme and take the middle way. My human ideal is pretty much stated in “Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle”, but the other texts have their own validated ways to reach the human ideal.
The Odyssey portrayed a character who seems to be the ideal mortal. His name was Odysseus and he had fought for his country with bravery. The gods were all in favor of his homecoming from Troy because of his bravery. “You dog, you never thought I would any more come back from the land of Troy, and because of that you despoiled my household,… and sought to win my wife while I was still alive, fearing neither the immortal gods who hold the wide heaven,…Now upon you all terms of destruction are fastened.”(Odyssey of Homer, 22:35-41) Odysseus’ house had been overtaken be suitors and the gods lead him to bring justice to the suitors. The suitors did not fear the “immortal gods” like Odysseus did so they were fated to be destroyed by the God-like Odysseus.
The suitors would be an example of an anti-human ideal in the culture the book is based on. Gods play a huge role in deciding the correct way to be a mortal. If you did not fear them and respect their power, you would be looked down upon and would have “all terms of destruction” fastened upon you. Odysseus was a war hero who fought in Troy for his people and he alone survived and because of this he was held high above everyone else this is the major reason Zeus would grant him a glorious homecoming.
In” Euthyphro”, the human ideal is portrayed to be very different than “The Odysseus”. In order in to be prefect human, you had to live life without certainty and to always ask questions even when you feel you are correct in your way of thinking. Socrates believed that people were often ignorant and talked in a way where they were correct even when they far from it. Euthyphro was on his way to court where he had run into Socrates and Socrates asked him what he business was there. Euthyphro was there to prosecute his father for murder of a servant who had also committed murder. Socrates being the human ideal example for this text brought up the question of “If you had no clear knowledge of piety and impiety you would never have ventured to prosecute your old father for murder on behalf of servant” (Euthyphro).
Socrates tested Euthyphro’s sense of piety because Socrates thought it was wrong that he had no doubt in his mind it was justified to bring his own father to court. Socrates believed you should always ask questions because not everything in the world can be black and white. Socrates believed that all things had a grey area where what is piety and what is impiety was unclear. This brought of the question should he not bring a murderer to count merely because it’s his own father and does it even make a difference if the person he murdered was a murderer himself?
My personal favorite human ideal of all the books is the one from The “Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle”. The basic idea behind Aristotle’s book is that the ultimate goal in life is to achieve true happiness. This particular idea makes the most sense to me. “Happiness, then, is found to be something perfect and self-sufficient, being the end to which our actions are directed” (Aristotle, Page 15). This quote states that happiness is the final, the end and all other things will lead up to this. Happiness is stated to direct our actions because people all want to be happy. This idea gives people the feeling of “self-sufficient” because no other person can make another person achieve the ultimate good because it is all dependent on the person.
Happiness is a perfect thing because no one truly knows what it is until they reach it themselves. The idea of happiness is subjective around the world given the different cultures so it is impossible to even begin to describe specifically how to reach the ultimate good. He also says “Since happiness is a certain sort of activity of the soul in accord with complete virtue, we must examine virtue; for that will perhaps also be a way to study happiness better” (Aristotle, 16). Happiness is a virtue and in order to know happiness then you need to have an idea of what a virtue is. Virtue is the behavior showing high moral standards. Moral standards are important in all culture and especially in the Geek culture because of the gods who everyone seems to fear so greatly. They try to not offend any of the gods so their virtue is based around that for the most part. Which means their ultimate good involves pleasing the gods in order to achieve their goal of happiness.
In John, the human ideal is a tad more divine than Aristotle’s view. John focuses more on having faith without doubt of its truth. Throughout the bible there are many examples that can be attached to this idea and John is no exception. Jesus was sent out in to the wilderness to survive for forth days and forty nights. The devil tempted him with power and ending of this suffering in the wilderness, but Jesus’ faith was much too strong for the devil. “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours’” (John).
The devil showed him the power he could have had if he would worship him, but of course it was in vain given he is Jesus and there is nothing in the world that could corrupt his faith. Jesus is the prime example of an ideal human and people believed if they acted like Jesus, then their life would have meaning and be complete. However, if it were any other mortal who was confronted with the offer that the devil made may have taken all that power in a heartbeat. The only way a person could reason with themselves in order to not take that deal would require a lot of faith in God and truth their decision may be rewarded in some way. The ideals presented in the Bible require people to have great faith in the Lord.
My personal view of the human ideal is fairly general since I have no idea how to even get close to a perfect way to be human. My ideas agree with Aristotle in that happiness should be the ultimate goal no matter what way you achieve it. The one exception I have is that your path to happiness shouldn’t put others down and obstruct their path to happiness. If you feel there is no other option to reach your goal, then think again because there is always a middle way and some way to reach your goal without hurting others. You need to live for each other and of course put your life or loved ones at the top of your list, but even a homeless drug addict on the street is a person and should be treated as such regardless of their poor choices in life. This also brings of the issue of what is that person has hurt someone. I feel that even if a person has intentional hurt another human being should at least have the chance to change unless they murdered, raped, or committed crimes as extreme as those. However, if the person shows no signs of regret or urge to reform, then justice will be properly laid onto the person in question. In this world, justice is a must because without it nothing is stopping people from obstructing other’s paths to happiness. Happiness is all too important in life to let a few hurt or corrupt the many.
Human ideals seem to play a big role in culture, literature, and religion. However, there is of course no true human ideal because no two people think exactly the same way. The ideals ranged from fighting for your home and to kill for glory to achieving the ultimate good of happiness. Perfection in this world is merely an idea and it has a hard time fitting in with anything since nothing is truly perfect.