Ancient Wisdom

The ancient Greeks had their own ideas about what a good life was.  Socrates’ cautioned the people of Athens to avoid complacency.  He said you should be critical of your own life.  Don’t wait for someone to come along and save you. Save yourself.

Aristotle preached the concept of “eudaimonia.” Eudamomonia describes a life of flourishing, a life in which a person is constantly striving for self-improvement. To be more virtuous more wise, more thoughtful and self-aware. This was Aristotle’s idea of a life well-lived.  He wouldn’t agree with Camus, that we all get to make our own meaning and that there are infinite ways to live a good life.

Aristotle believed in a human essence. That there’s a proper way to be a human being.And that we will only flourish by finding that path. Aristotle said humans are the rational animal, so living a good human life means seeking to know yourself, and strive to govern yourself through reason. Work to be the best most virtuous version of yourself.  Under achievers by this meaning, cannot live good lives.

Aristotle also believed that some ways of living are definitely better or worse than others. So if you want to be a good human, what you prefer has nothing to do with it. Choosing to be a couch potato or to indulge one’s pleasure as he said is to live not good.  Life like this stands in stark contrast to the picture we get from Camus – who said that we are all the determiners of the value of our own lives.

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