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Human well-being and the Good Life

Thinking about the current brawls of beliefs in the world, Spanish Inquisition, Islamic
fundamentalism and Hindu extremism, it seems that Socrates have been correct when he
challenged the status and beliefs, terming them virtually anathema to human wellbeing and good
life. In fact, it is not that we live in this world, but the important point in Socrates' words it to live
a good life. It is to reach the superior level of thinking other than desires and needs. However,
Plato has stressed upon the just life that means the life of virtues is required to reach the higher
aim of a good life.

Then comes the Stoics, led by Epictetus for whom good life is based on emotionless life with
"dispassionate understanding" of all things that are not one's paper. This is good life is based on
calmness and equanimity. However, on the other hand, St. Augustine, who was a Christian,
almost rejected this view of life saying that it is God's grace that we must aspire to rejecting all
worldly things. It seems that he is also accepted Stoics in becoming emotionless to achieve the
idea of good life, but his is a Christian view and not Grecian one. His idea is rather based on
reflection of thinking about oneself to find the real truth and realizing that we are human beings
and what is humanity. Then comes the age of faith and reason of Anselm. His views have been
based the same as of Augustine about good life in that good life is based on belief that it precedes
all things and that a person must reason to find the truth underlying it.

However, the entry of Rousseau and Nietzsche about self-exploration and stress upon human
faculties shook the very foundations of their religions touch in philosophy. His debate about
amopur de soi and amour-proper led Nietzsche to conclude that God is not necessary for moral
excellence to which a person must strive for. He is of the view that creativity with free will and
free from oppression. There comes Karl Marx who propagates dialectical materialism and that all
morals and ethics are based on the materialism. Although market mechanism and capitalism are
different things, they are also based on materialism and the concept that material gains makes a
person happy and that this happiness is the basis of human welfare and good life like Jeremy
Bentham's utilitarianism. As man has now entered this modern world where most of the
legislation is based on ethics, the theory of moral relativism holds much weight in the
background of the concept of good life and human wellbeing. Therefore, the new philosophical
question of how to act morally has now become a very difficult question to respond to. In my
view and in the light of the vies of these sages, I think it is the philosophy to strive for better life
not for oneself only but also for others, keeping one's personal ego satisfying but not at the
expense of harming others.