27 November 2011

The good life isn't ruled by money, false dichotomies

False dichotomies are one of my favorite (I just cursed at my computer because it told me favorite should be spelled favourite) things.  They're one of those things that are so amazingly useful that no one seems to care that they're absolutely nonsensical. Your false dichotomy for the day is:

I would rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

19 November 2011

The good life isn't ruled by money, intro

For the most part my first year university courses are a blur.  Besides the obvious problem of drinking, there was the fact that I was reading like a madman, though most of it wasn't really for the courses that I was taking.  I had read The Social Contract when I was in high school, but I remembered next to nothing from it.  After my second reading in my freshman year I came away with at least that first line, "Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains."  Rosseau thought that those chains could be broken, and they have been for the most part.  Unfortunately, most of us have willingly replaced them with another set of chains of our own forging.

If you're reading this blog, you are probably in a place that is freer than any other place has ever been in the history of the world. About 45% of my readers are American, 45% Canadian, and the rest scattered around various other free places in the world.  The unparalleled freedom present in these locations is only matched by the willingness that people have to be dominated by money. We face the problem not of being held in bondage, but in deciding whether we will allow ourselves to simply be the means through which another person can make money.

More to come later this week...

17 November 2011

The good life is generous

I'm a big friend of lending books.  In some ways, a lot of our social networking ties into that same simple notion, to point our friends towards information that we might think is useful to them.  The idea of giving is vitally important to my understanding of the good life, and there's no better way for me to explain it than to point you towards the words of Kahlil Gibran.  I had planned on using this blog as a way to sort through my own ideas on a subject, but sometimes my own ideas are tied so tightly to my influences that there's no way of separating them.  In those kind of cases I think that the most useful thing to do is to simply reproduce the original rather than run it through my admittedly thin filter.

The following text is from his book The Prophet:

13 November 2011

Simple things are hard to do

"While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good."

This is perhaps the simplest of commands.That doesn't mean that it's easy though.  While you are alive, and while it is in your power, be good.  

10 November 2011

Simple things are hard to do, intro

Here's the line from Meditations which this next post is going to be about:

"While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good."

If only it were really so simple...

More to follow.

08 November 2011

Focusing on what you don't have, volume 1

Wealth is indifferent.  It falls into the lap of some, while never coming near others.  It can bring misery to those who live for it, and be ignored by those who can't be bothered with it in the least bit.  All of that wealth, and most other things in life to the Stoic, are like dust or dirt on a mirror.  The practice of philosophy is the careful wiping clean of our mirror, the attempt, repeated over and over throughout our lives, of trying to see ourselves for what we really are.  This is a lot harder to do than it is to say.

06 November 2011

Living the good life without a German car

It is apparently illegal to have a blog post now without citing this, so there you go, enjoy.

Now on to something more boring...

When I mention the good life I'm not just talking about giving up your job as a draughtsman so that you can turn your house into an urban farm, but that might be one way you could achieve it.  I'm thinking more about how we as a society view the good life.  With a child coming up, I'm thinking more and more about how we tell our children what a good life is, and how we show them what in life is worth doing.

This week I plan on exploring this topic.  If any of you have some good examples of someone whom you think is living "the good life" tell me about them, I'd love to hear.