Thinking about a Good Life

life

“The thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die”

—Søren Aabye Kierkegaard – Journals 1835

Last week our Star Track co-creators and agents spent their time mulling over what a good life is. The theme of the week was meaning and purpose, and our task was to figure out what our own life is all about. No big deal.

We talked about the fact that over the years, different thinkers have come up with different concepts of what ‘a good life’ is, and what the purpose of life is too: happiness, love, faith, reason, art.

We also discussed that whatever life’s ultimate purpose, many thinkers agreed that the important thing for any human is to be ‘a self’. By a self, we mean being true to yourself, and different or distinct from other people. One way to go about finding your ‘self’ is to discover the thing you live for.

But (as is pointed out during a brilliant lecture by a Stanford professor) the problem is, it’s easy to fail.  It’s easy to fail to be your ‘self’. In fact, there are three ways to fail:

  1. You can be divided against yourself—you can feel conflicted.
  2. You can be mutable—you can be different from the person you were yesterday, you can change a lot.
  3. You can be inauthentic—you do things you don’t actually want to do.

So the key questions we ended up discussing during our sessions were:

  • Who are you?
  • What is your purpose in life?
  • What does ‘a good life’ mean to you?

As we said, no big deal.

We had some super interesting responses, not just from our co-creators, but also from people they know, and people in our own community. So here’s a little snapshot.

Co-creator Gianni Bolemole asked around at his college…

 

Our great volunteer and all-round hero Chris Packechimed in with his thoughts:

Aiming for a Big Thing
Stopping to savour the Little Things
Enriching yourself by trying to enrich other people

Rhubarb crumble and custard followed by salt and vinegar chipsticks

Another community member, Stuart Jones, narrowed it down to this:

Having the freedom to live a life I value.

And Phil Ginsberg (a Spark+Mettle champion) offered a brilliant, considered response:

The good life, to me, means a life in which I find the best way to make myself uniquely useful to my community.

Uniquely useful means finding the position in which I personally, with my talents and abilities, can make our situation better. My community can be local people, parts or all of society, or even the whole world.

Also, the good life for me means the examined life. “The unexamined life is not worth living” (Plato). It’s probably easy to say that, though, when you are lucky enough to live in comfortable circumstances that allow you to worry about examining life. Not everyone has that opportunity.

Finally, some in-depth considerations from another young woman, friend of co-creator Tiffany James:

 

The question is now: what does a good life mean to you?