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The meaning of a Good Life

Updated on March 27, 2020
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Jackline is an online freelancer with vast experience in philosophy, specializing in existentialism, where she has been helping students.

The Good Life

A good life entails having peace of mind, good health and self-prosperity. For instance, my peace of mind comes from knowing that my loved ones and I are free from ill health or difficult challenges in life. At such times, one can have fun and enjoy themselves without having to worry about other things. At the same time, having good health and peace of mind help me to invest in areas that boost my self-prosperity. From a philosophical point of view, the good life is described as that which an individual dreams of living. In the past, the good life was easy because it entailed only having sufficient food to sustain one's life, a family, shelter and tribal affiliation. The primary thing was freedom, which one would obtain from the hardships in life. One of the fundamental definitions of the good life was Socrates, after which other philosophers came up with their explanations of the good life. From their theories and opinions concerning the meaning of a good life and how to acquire them, some of them seem to revolve around the same sentiments, while others tend to differ in their ideas. This paper aims at defining the good life and the various lifestyles that individuals can adopt to achieve remarkable growth.

One primary definition of the good life is that of Aristotle, whereby he devised a theory of useful living for human beings as outlined in Nichomachean ethics (Wong, 2011). In his opinion of the good life, Aristotle says that the good life is the one which blossoms and where people live comfortably. Moreover, he highlights that a good life is a happy life where one is not only at peace but has a fulfilled life. According to Tiberius (2013), Aristotle compares the good life to a useful commodity that functions effectively; therefore, meeting the desires of the person who is using it. According to the philosopher, the excellent life encompasses embracing the ethical virtues, and for one to live such an experience, they must show particular expertise or wisdom concerning ethical issues in life. He poses an argument that the presence of noble virtues goes along with the good life and that full of happiness.

For instance, the Australian society values respect for dignity and freedom of a person, freedom of worship, commitment to the law rule, men and women equality and parliamentary democracy (Brey, Briggle & Spence, 2012). The society also embraces an egalitarianism spirit which advocates for tolerance, mutual respect, compassion and fair treatment for those who require the public good. The community also values equal treatment of people regardless of their background, ethnicity, race and religion. One unifying factor in Australian society is the English language which acts as the national language (Chalofsky, & Cavallaro, 2013). To have a good life, Australians must respect these values and obey the country's laws and live harmoniously with others.

Philosopher's View of the good life

Aristotle believes that the good life can be referred to as the role of people in society to fulfill their human responsibilities with success. In search of achievement required for the good life, three types of human virtue were identified by Aristotle, which he referred to as routes of excellence (Pasupathi, 2013). The three attributes comprise intellectual, interpersonal and personal excellence. Personal excellence, in this case, falls under moral virtue whereby character development contributes to the achievement of moral virtue. Intellectual virtue, on the other hand, relates to knowledge because it brings about success and is essential in reasoning and making important decisions in life. According to Tiberius (2013), sound thinking and decision making are critical to achieving a pleasant experience. Interpersonal excellence is that which is found in good friendship virtue whereby people need to socialize with people in the society for them to achieve a good life. The interaction brings about cohesion that creates happiness in the community and therefore promotes a good life, which is the key to the good life.

Socrates also had his view on the meaning of the good life and different lifestyles on how to attain it. According to him, the good life is that which is not materialistic but rather, that which involves an individual’s mind (Pasupathi, 2013). He argues that a person who has a sound mind lives a good life than who has a lot of material possessions. For example, a man who has no land or car but has a sound wealthier than that who has a lot of land and many cars. His idea shows that he perceives wealth to be of no value when compared to the mind and that wealth does not bring about the good life that one may wish to live (Brey, Briggle & Spence, 2012). He stands with the idea that the only lifestyle which can lead to a good life in a human being is that which he lives in truth. Socrates argues that for one to have a good life, is material possessions cannot achieve that which is full of happiness and happiness but through having a healthy and active mind.


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