What is the Good Life

The Good Life In The Eyes Of The Beholder

In the case of the Good life, what would the Good life be in the average man or woman’s function of daily life? In Plato’s theory on the good life, it rests on the idea that everything has one function, which we are naturally suited for. Why are we suited for this concept, is it in our nature? The beauty, virtue, happiness, and excellence of this particular thing all depend on the fulfillment of this function. In this idea, even man has one function for which he is naturally suited or his gift. This is no easy task for man and women, we are complex beings and our day-to-day way of thinking and pleasures differ from person to person. It’s worth mentioning that we are dictated by nature, that is the same for all people in all circumstances and situations. For we can’t decide for ourselves what this function is in life. That’s why we are constantly seeking out, as a hedonist and avoiding pain and anxiety. Were constantly seeking out pleasures for the flesh and hoping not to conflict them with the spirit and also not to fall into the state of emptiness. In conclusion our existence is a truth, and may be the only truth and good and we should find its certainty.

What is that function? In the Republic by Plato “He argues, that the proper uses or function of man and his soul is to live justly and to achieve a state of unity and harmony. Man consists of several parts, each different and with different aims, goals and appetites. He lists the intellect, spirit/courage, and physical desires as the three parts of the soul, though he may simplify this for ease of understanding.” Plato is stating here to live rightly, honest, admirable, and responsible. But in my opinion, we as in most live and live to be satisfied by the pleasures of life. But this is state of conflict between the soul/spirit and flesh, and undesirable, we as humans want the gratification of pleasures now. THE ENJOYMENT OF LIVING, by Lin Yutang states: “The most obvious fact which philosophers refuse to see is that we have got a body. Either we have to have bodies and have all our bodily wants satisfied, or else we are pure spirits and have no satisfactions at all. All satisfactions imply want” Ways of Wisdom, (Smith, 59).

When all of us are pursuing physical desires and natural and necessary desires we should keep them in the appropriate fashion, there can still be some conflicts. In this reason we are intent on balancing the soul, providing some satisfaction for all of our desires in natural necessary ways and, natural unnecessary functions also. When this is accomplished, when the parts of the soul are fulfilling their natural functions well and, under the guidance of reason, self control and are in harmony and balance with others, and then the soul is good, happy, and fully satisfied. And so the above description is not man’s function, but merely the state of wellness or being required to properly perform his or her daily function.

“For Plato, human beings live in a world of visible and intelligible things. The visible world is what surrounds us: what we see, what we hear, what we experience; this visible world is a world of change and uncertainty. The intelligible world is made up of the unchanging products of human reason: anything arising from reason alone, such as abstract definitions or mathematics, makes up this intelligible world, which is the world of reality” (http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/GREECE/PLATO.HTM.) .

And in the Apology we get a sense of man’s proper, natural function. Man pursues knowledge, intelligence, and ultimate reality. This is the way man truly attains virtue and it is on the same path as the gods. The Republic Plato argues similarly, proposing that man is to search for the good and the other forms of good and truth. Both cases man’s function is to use his mind, intelligence, and reason in search of truth, and for Plato knowledge and ultimate reality. Is the body a hindrance or an obstacle, in search of the good life? If it is, it’s a struggled against the soul at all times. Does the body harass the mind with all sorts of desires and appetites, barely giving the mind time to think? So it is the job of man to remove himself as entirely as he can from his body, to use it only in the barest, simplest fashion, only to survive. In this way he will minimize this hurdle and allow himself to pursue his true function and to the take full advantage of his ability. And this quest and life long journey is man’s function and the only way to the good life. It depends on the synchronization of the soul and body.

“Socrates even admits in The Republic that he himself knows not just what the good is, but he knows we should strive for it and the knowledge of it” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-ethics-politics/).

All of this is fine and good, a noble pursuit of both desires, but it seems like just another attempt to create meaning and give arrangement to our lives. Besides any idea or thought or action we think and feel, might have the possibility that it may be wrong or proven wrong. The pursuit of knowledge is admirable and I think very worthy of, but in terms of value or meaning what is the knowledge of the good life? One is, ultimately, just as good as the next and gets you just as far, because as Sartre’s states: “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself” (Smith, 230.) You just need to decide what is important in your life and what you want to do with it. As well, I think it is a mistake to place so much value on the mind and intellect so use the body and mind in a partnership and give to the flesh, pleasure in moderation. Your mind and mine are limited, weak, just as our senses are. They too, can mislead and misguide us, and I see no reason to suppose they are powerful enough to solve the riddle of the universe, what would you call the ultimate good life? For that, I see no reason to believe there even is a question to be solved! Maybe we just developed a survival tool that, now that our survival is secure, is trying to occupy itself and keep itself busy, and alive all for what? If this is accurate, then one philosophy is just as good as the next, depending solely on yours and mine tastes.

In conclusion what is right or wrong or if at all perfect in the way that we feel is good? This is the argument or theory I’m try to figure out, what would you call The Good Life? And if you and I are looking, feeling or enjoying one particular pleasure at the same moment, you and me will not see or feel the pleasure exactly as the other. One is, ultimately just as good as the next and gets you just as far.