Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Project Eudemonia. Principle Three: Live Your Life With Purpose.

“The unexamined life is not worth living” the kernel of this maxim, from Socrates, is that we choose values and principles that premise our lives, that gives us a purpose and a reason for living. Our life should, as Bertrand Russell noted “ spring from our own deep impulses and not from the accidental tastes and desires of those who happen to be our neighbours, or even our relations.” Putting it anouther way, the French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, identified, what he believed the key philosophical question: should one commit suicide? If the answer is no, then it implies that one has a reason to live. A life then, without some hope or reason for living, or some guiding purpose, would be one so open to chance, so open to the manipulations and coercions of others, that it would be a existence - “flying by the seat of its pants.” - a tumbleweed being blown by the wind.

It cannot be overestimated, then, how important it is that we find something that we love, something we are good at, and something that we can sink hours or years of our lives into. We can find purpose and pleasure in many things; figuring out what is one of them(purpose in finding purpose alas). The result then, is a stable, purposeful and worthwhile existence. Ends are important however, we should ask whether or not our lives contribute to the over all good, and that the consequences that we create do not bring about unnecessary suffering to others and to ourselves. It would also need to be stressed, that we place a not to great an emphasis on achieving specific goals; we should take pleasure in the doing more than the achieving. Finally, via Sartre, we should have as many reasons for living as possible, so, if one happens to fail us, we will not lapse into despair or futility.



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