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The Good Life

Most ethical theorists equate the good life to the ethical, moral and happy life, reasoning that the search for good brings about happiness. Although we may not be aware of it, human beings are constantly striving to attain the good life. Every single conscious decision we make- whether it appears to be evil or good- is made in an effort to achieve the good. This innate pursuit of the good- as explained by Christian teaching- is that God created humans with an intrinsic attraction to the good life. After exploring Platos philosophical principals, I feel that I am drawn to his opinion on the good life. Plato reveres and recognizes the importance of the good life and understands that the good is an inherent aspect in all things. Everything is created with good instilled in it, however, it is impossible to find the good itself. Just as we are unable to find beauty itself, humans cannot find the good; rather we are only able things that poses good qualities. Plato goes on to assert that goodness can only be found through meditation and contemplation. When we contemplate about something, the good in the object is able to enter our minds and enrichen our souls. It is through this meditative process that philosophers are able to live the most fulfilling life through their deep and intimate understanding of what is good. Those who refrain from contemplation are unable to recognize and act in accordance with the good. Such people are unable to realize the true value in anything, and instead value things based on how much enjoyment can be extracted from them.

One of the main reasons I find Platos ideas and philosophies interesting is the fact that he struggled to overcome many of the same destructive ideas that still plague the world today. For example, the sophism movement argued that absolute truth is simply someones opinion. This group adopted a relativistic view, ridiculing the idea of moral reasoning and promoting a society inclined to greed, sex, food and drink. Even today, nearly 2500 years later, many people are consumed by their quench for materialistic desires. Humans today are so worried about driving nice cars or wearing fancy clothes that we do not have time the time to sit down and contemplate the good. In his time, Plato wisely warned society against the pursuit of elemental goods and danger of moral relativism. He sought to protect his society through reason and the pursuit of the good. Whats amazing is that despite the centuries, we can still apply Platos teachings today in our search for the good life.