Achieving A Good And Simple Life
I remove the leash off her collar, and she takes off running as if her wildness has woken from hibernation. Happiness fills her, and she does what she loves to do most, run uncontrollably. All I want is to feel a joy for the simplest things, that the majority of the time represent the most valuable things. My dog’s name is Bailey, and I have learned a lot from the way she lives. Her joy comes from trickling water, butterflies, and the click her collar makes when it is released from the leash. Happiness comes from the little things to her. I had not realized my desire for this until the ethics notebook. I think about: ethics, honesty, friendship, education, virtue, generosity, etc. , and how they can affect others. Learning how to be of good service to others makes me happy. Not all service is good, not everyone is out to support each other, and not everyone has a kind heart. I am aware I can be everything I am against of, but I chose to make an effort to learn how to represent a better part of the earth we live in. Just like Bailey, even if she might not think of becoming a “better dog, ” she reminds me that I want to become a better individual every day.
In one of my initial entries, I said I would take an envelope filled with the precise amount of money to pay off my parent’s debt, leave them well off, and move on with my life and not see them again. Every time I would write a new entry, I would reread the previous entries and realized I would, in fact, not take the money. I went from thinking like Glaucon to thinking like Socrates. It is possible we are wicked and would do bad things if nobody found out like Glaucon claimed, but I dare to believe that, just maybe, we are willing to go against human urges and be good solely because being good feels good and good things include being good just for being good. Enjoying a virtuous life is something I look forward to doing, it is not easy, though. I have difficulty admitting when I do not know the answer to a question. I become frustrated when I do not comprehend a particular, but with the Ethics Notebook, I have realized I know nothing at all. The answers to questions I thought I knew the answers to, change the more I think about what I am trying to answer. Like Socrates, I can say I do not know the answer to every question. I am okay with not knowing the answer. I believe that virtue can be taught. I believe that education can be taught. I believe love can be taught. I do not know what the true answer is, but that is my opinion.
According to Aristotle, one has to reach excellence (virtue), and one must be motivated by human virtue to accomplish the full effect of excellence. One must work at to reach excellence in both thinking and character, he states that “excellence of character comes into being as a consequence of habit, ” and in order to reach excellence, since it is habitual, one must place it into practice to come closer to enjoying a virtuous life. The thought of practicing a virtue for a week was not a problem to me, but I quickly realized it would be more difficult than I thought. Before this class, I considered I was a generous person, especially with my time. I went out of my way to spend time with my fiance, my family, my friends, and myself as well. In all honesty, I chose to practice generosity because I thought I already practiced it on a daily basis, so it would not be so demanding. I found I am a very stingy person with my time, and on top of that I did not have a balance with quantity and quality of my time. While practicing a virtue with Aristotle, I understood that both quantity and quality is important. I gave my fiance time, or so I thought, but while I was “giving him loads of time” I would be doing something else. I was offering him quantity but not quality. This assignment was a reality check for me because time is something that once it leaves it will never come back, and working isn’t everything. It is time to live a life not work one.
Epictetus was born a slave, did not know his parents or his real name. He was not in control of the circumstances that were placed onto him before he was born. These circumstances didn’t stop him because he was aware that he could not change them. Epictetus needed freedom to reach happiness, and to be free he focused only the things he can control. Many times, I focus on receiving my goal rather than focusing on becoming the best version of myself to reach that goal. If I want to achieve an examined life, I must go in search of the most effective way to live a virtuous life. As imperfect beings, we do not control almost one hundred percent of the things that occur, but we do determine how we react to them.
I want to live a simple life, as well as finding happiness in what is in my control. In order to achieving a good life, one must be aware that we do not know the answer to every question that arises, and that is okay, in order to have a virtuous life one must practice living virtuously, and be aware that we do not control almost one hundred percent of the things that occur to us. The simple things are the most important because virtue alone is happiness. Eudaimonia is something that we can achieve on our own and the material things in life are just an addition to it. I have spent so much of my time on school and work, that I had stopped giving time to important people in my life. I was so caught up on trying to create that foundation to a life, which is still important, that my life was slipping through my finger. My relationship, my family, and ultimately my eudaimonia was affected to the point where I had stopped living while still alive. I will practice living a virtuous life, to achieve a good life.
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