On Eudaimonia And The Flourishing Soul

An excerpt from my current read, ‘What is Good’ – A.C. Grayling, 2003:

“Aristotle had a particular concept of happiness in mind, to which he gave the name ‘eudaimonia’. . . a much richer notion than what is now generally meant by happiness. More precisely, ‘eudaimonia’ means a flourishing state of the soul. The English word ‘happiness’ (especially in contemporary usage) embodies a very pallid conception in comparison; one could make everyone happy by putting suitable medications in the public water supply, but that would scarcely convey what Aristotle had in mind.”


Below is a review from Goodreads:

One of the most fundamental questions in our life is to find out what we value – what principles we want to live by and which codes we will use to guide our behaviour. Most of us want to live a good life. But what, in today’s secular society, does ‘good’ actually mean? To classical Greeks, the acquisition of knowledge, the enjoyment of the senses, creativity and beauty were all aspects of life to strive for. Then came the volcanic declarations of St Paul and his fundamentalist ideas on sin and human nature. In WHAT IS GOOD?, A.C. Grayling examines these and other proposals on how to live a good life, from the ‘heroic’ ideals of the Greek poets to Kant’s theories on freedom and the UN Declaration on Human Rights.


aristotleI tried to read this book over a year ago and did not get far before inserting a bookmark and placing it on the “Partially Read” shelf. There it sat until a few mornings ago (about 5:30am) when, as I was thinking about something in the current human condition, I detected a whisper – “Take another look at that book by A.C. Grayling” . . . so I did. I’m very glad I stopped when I did and elated that I started over from the beginning. I’m sure it is destined to be a ‘can’t-put-it-down’ tome this time around.

So here I am at 74 years old finally taking a serious look at classical Greek philosophy and lovin’ it . . . go figger eh? By the way, the picture is Aristotle, not me, just wanted to be “perfectly clear” about that.

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