In Search of the “Good Life”

The “good” that shapes me in this time and place is interwoven with complexities and contradictions which reflects the shape of the world today. At one point in time, especially in my early twenties, living a “good life” meant everything was going right and every want and need was met. However, that was misguided and misrepresented of what life is truly about. As Arnett et. al., stated in Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference, (2013), “the good is descriptive of a value or value set that is manifested in communicative practices that is sought to protect and promote” (p. 2).

As my life is examined at this time and place, it is not to be taken that the “place” is just only the physical location but the time and season of my life. Interestingly, I find that I agree completely with Arnett, et. al. (2013) in “the definition of the good life is lent to rhetoric, especially if there is not a “consensus about what the good life is or should be. In one sense, it would be best to interpret the good in my life at this particular time or “season” as I often refer it as, but many people would interpret it differently simply because many people are unable to identify what the good life truly is (Arnett, et. al 2013, p.15-16).  My personal slant is directed toward the spiritual side, when I classify what the “good” in life is all about and how it is often how I deal with difficult circumstances.

In history the question of what is the “good life” is often tied to the spiritual or religious sector, but over the course of time, has moved toward the humanistic view.  As Taylor (1989) was quoted by Arnett, et. al, 2013,  “it describes the movement from identifying the good as emerging from a framework outside of human experience, such as a religious perspective, to the idea of “nature” and, eventually, to within human experience” (p.`16). Pondering and my personal reflection spurred me to read an article by the C.S. Lewis Foundation (Lewis was a renowned British author and theologian) which explored the definition of the “good life” which supports my reflection. In the article, author Kevin Kinghorn noted how Lewis viewed the ultimate key to the good life, which was the “good” found in relationships and caring for the welfare of others ( The Human Search). However, Lewis did downplay at some extent on how expressing love for all things natural and supreme was important as he was explaining this from the “welfarist” view. I tend to agree with the author, Kinghorn that the good in life or “the good life” can be pursued and found by engaging in involvement with others and social and spiritual matters ( The Human Search).

This past year, many may not characterize my life as “good”, because last August my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and the doctor classified his cancer as incurable. However, this journey not only brought my retired parents closer together, but it strengthened and challenged my entire family, and my parent’s church family, and it renewed old friendships, strengthened current friendships and family ties. In the midst of this journey good things and many events happened that overshadowed the battle my dad was going through. In other words, we strived hard to live what our family deemed “a normal life” interrupted by only chemo and radiation and doctor visits. In retrospect, that good in life was not what I saw as in my twenties; it is not “good” circumstances either, it is something much deeper. It is evident that I choose to view the “good” from the perspective that is based on my spiritual experience. On Friday, July 8th, we received the news that my dad has no active cancer and he will not undergo further at this time. Ironically, my younger self would have viewed this as the “good” in life because he got a good report, but the actual good is the fact that this journey built our family’s character and strengthened our faith during an impossible time. If his condition had went in the other direction,we would still have to view it as he had experienced a full life and knew where he was going if he left this earth. Essentially that would still represent good because of the legacy that would be left.

My interpretation of the good in life is all the things that encompass through relationships, nature, spirituality and love for the Creator and fellow human beings

References:

Arnett, R.F., J. M. Harden  & Bell, L.M. (2009). Communication ethics literacy: Dialogue

       and difference. Los Angeles: Sage.

Kinghorn, K. (2011). The human search for the good life [Special section]. In Pursuit of

      Truth: A Journal of Christian Scholarship. Retrieved from

     http://www.cslewis.org/journal/the-human-search-for-the-good-life/

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