What makes a good life

Are you a good person? What makes you good? What even makes you a person? Are you putting up a show of goodness or would you still be good even if you had no idea what anyone thought of you?

Is the point of good life about being a good person or is being a good person the result of a good life? Does annoying you with a series of questions make me a bad person? What is bad?

And on it went for a couple thousand years.

Socrates would read this and be cock-a-hoop about the swag life I am living. According to him, a good life was all about asking questions. By asking what a good life is, I have already demonstrated I am living the good life.

A circularly shitty attempt on my part, but I am not going to argue with Soccy. Now – assuming you ask equally wicked questions – we’ve established we are all living a good life. But what exactly do we do with all that goodness?

While thinkers that came after Socrates riffed off on the ask-many-questions formula, most left the what-after-you-have-the-answers? bit kinda hanging.

We live under the premise that we don’t have all the answers yet. This, if you haven’t noticed already, also turns out to be a great business model.

Hey, we have the answers you are looking for. Ummm..errrr…you got some cash on you?

We all love or hate philosophical/psychological spirals for pretty much the same reason: the questions are subjectively hard. And we are all excited or bored with our lives for the opposite reason: the answers turn out to be direct and simple: be kind, be helpful, be caring and the like.

We look for answers elsewhere expecting the answers will show some semblance of complexity.

That’s why any answer I give you will be disappointing. Because, and here’s the irony, you know the answers already. The answers are fundamental, banal and plain

And mostly free.

For some, asking more questions is only an opportunity to dig deeper and understand themselves and for others, it’s a feeling of unproductive hopelessness.

We are broadly torn between two big questions: Do I make meaning of the little? Or do I accept the meaninglessness of the vast?

In asking what makes a good life, what we are really asking is, what kind of a meaning will I have in the end? A good ending is a collection of good beginnings. That’s what questions offer: a beginning. What really makes a good life depends on what we do with the basic bromidic answers.

The questions more often than not become an excuse to avoid the hard part of living the answers. Living the answer is at the heart of the good life.

The goal, in the end, is not just how many questions you asked, but how many answers you lived.

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