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The Lyceum - searching for eudaimonia

My meaning of life - final (maybe)

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Part 6

So what is the Eudaimonia that I am searching for? What will create the ‘flourishing of the heart’ so described by Aristotle? A euphoric happiness that makes life wonderful?

First and foremost to me, it is achieving quality of existence. That means an understanding, appreciation and respect of all nature. Watching a brilliant butterfly dance under a tropical jungle canopy, or diving on a colourful reef teeming with thousands of tropical fish, provide a sense of awe. This appreciation for all of nature fills me with contented wonder, and happiness in its own right. The complexity of how the earth exists as an incredible tapestry of interdependent organisms, created through evolution is inspiring.

Appreciation of nature makes me recognise my place in it and guides me in how I should act in my environment to be a positive influence in it. Not just a passive spectator, but a contributor to its beauty. This is about being the best person that I can be. It is about trying to uphold the virtues that I feel so important in maintaining my relationships within my environment and culture. Some of these include: honesty, respect, integrity, calmness, rationality, objectivity, responsibility, and mateship. It is about developing my knowledge and understanding of the world around me, including its people, to the highest level possible. It is about always searching for the truth, and not being blinded by the negative primal instincts of the survival animal such as selfishness, or deceit.

I do not pretend to have achieved my perfect eudaimonic existence because I understand the animal in me is a very difficult beast to tame. It is not tamed, and never will be.

I doubt I will ever be able to achieve what I might call a perfect state of contented eudaimonic happiness because of this, but it’s a battle I’m determined to fight.

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  1. Gurgler's Avatar
    I would also add tolerance to your list of virtues as the world rarely reflects the utopia we seek.

    I don't know how it looks at street level in Lima, but here in China, there is very little appreciation of nature apparent in this seething over-populated land where a survival of the (financial) fittest appears to playing out, currently.

    There is more of just about everything here (including billionaires, I heard last week - now more than the US!) and it is this sheer bulk which drives and motivates a lot of what goes on here. Certainly there are 'wonders' to observe (greay Wall, Terracotta warriors, etc.) but as I look out my window, I see the haze of pollution, streets full of people struggling to eke out existence with scant regard for those around them.

    So, thus the need to tolerate - things could be better, and maybe at some stage in the future. Others may not behave as we would like them to however, that should not distract us from our course.

    Above all we should enjoy the journey as much as we can, for the destination is just that - a goal to aim for. I think this is what you are also saying?


  2. kennas's Avatar
    Greg, I'm not too sure about tolerance.

    Tolerance of what? Stupidity? Idocy? GWB? Sadaam? The Taliban?

    Tolerance may actually lead to disaster.

    I think I know what you mean however. Could you expand?

    Appreciation of the environment is right up there with enjoying life. It's the eppreciation of the moment, and having respect and understanding for the how and why we are here.

    In regard to the journey, perhaps the journey may be the destination!!!

    I think this is what I tried to allude to in trying to find eudaimonia. I'm not sure if it's possible, but I am on the path. That's what's most important IMO.


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