Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Living the Good Life

The happy life is thought to be virtuous; a virtuous life requires exertion and does not consist in amusement." An article in the Kyeogyang magazine, by a priest professor of philosophy,  begins with  the words from the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, who defines the good life as happiness and a life one  daily tries to understand. It is not what we see presently with the  eyes but is composed of our history, our outlook towards a future joined to our ultimate purpose in life.

Life is not just the passage of time but a continuous disciplining activity, which attains life's ultimate objective by our completing a dynamic journey. It  has to be distinguished  from  existence, for the good life is an ideal pattern that is made clear to us. With Aristotle, the good life and  life itself are distinguishable; however, we  feel some regret in the way he expressed it.

The reason for this, the professor believes, is that we are not able to see much beyond what we  momentarily face in life, the coarseness and the present pressures, making it difficult to see what the  philosophers think is important: seeing beyond the present moment to a totally grace-filled life.

He goes on to tell us that to live the good life with joy, it is necessary not to overlook the abyss we live in, and the constant pressures of life.  The word 'life' brings many thoughts to mind, both  bewildering and difficulty.  And yet those who can say the word 'life'  serenely, simply and positively, is a sign that the person is living  the good life, the professor says.

However, compared to those who see the happiness and elegance of life, a greater number feel the anguish and the extreme sadness of life, kept from living the good life by focusing on the future pressures of life that await them.

The wise from all the different cultures of the world and in different ages have seen the beauty of life, and many living today lament that the life they live is not in that mold. But we forget that the good life does not depend on our situation in life.

He gives examples of 'survivors,' who have not been destroyed by what they have experienced. One is the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who wrote the masterpiece, Princess Mononoke; also two Chinese novelists, Yu Hwa in his novel To Live , and Mo Yan in Life and  Death Are Wearing Me Out. These writers have praised the nobility of life, and without needing to say so personally have by their creative works shown a desire for the good life.  

The exalted life of a survivor is the fruit of one who has understood the meaning of life, its fundamental goodness, and is earnestly in search for happiness in the  journey of life.

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