Thursday, July 15, 2010
I argued in my last post that it is not only happiness which we are looking for in life. Don’t get me wrong. Having a happy life is a great thing. However, focusing on happiness as the sole end of your life will most probably lead you into an unhappy life. So, what is it that we want in life? We have different desires in life. I have mentioned them repeatedly in previous post. However, it might be a good thing to remind you with them. Our basic desirers are; biological needs, security, attachment, self esteem, and self actualization. Some psychologists added self transcendence to the list. It is a bad idea to focus on the mere fulfillment of your desires as your strategy to have a good life. Our desires were designed by evolution to enhance our survival. I don’t want to under estimate them though. They were in fact great in accomplishing what was required of them to do. However, they are still primitive and not so well designed to be our sole compass toward having what is good. They might represent the foundation of what constitutes what we might conceive as good in this life, but there are other factors which are important as well, even more important. Another feature of human beings which was also developed by nature to enhance survival is our ability of rational thinking. It is very important to recognize the importance of rationality when it comes to determining what is good in life. The rational assessment of our desires and our abilities is the only way through which we can determine what is really good about life. Without going into the philosophical details, I would like to present to you one of the most plausible theories concerned with what makes our life good. Roger Crisp argued convincingly that what makes our life good and accordingly the ultimate end of our life are the following five main features to which any other feature can be reduced:
• Pleasure, including aesthetic pleasure
• Friendship and if possible the highest degree of friendship which is love
• practical reasoning
Each of those features deserves further explanation. Before I do so, I would like you yourself to think about what those features mean to you and their value to your life.