What is a ‘good life’? The idea of a ‘good life’ varies and is argued as everyone has their own beliefs on what is the best use of their life and how that will contribute to it being a good life. Not only this but different upbringings and religions influence the way we perceive goodness and success in life.
What is Buddhism? Buddhists believe that human life consists of suffering and that the practice of meditation, spiritual and physical labor and good behavior are the ways we can achieve enlightenment or nirvana.
What are their key ideas? The key belief of Buddhism is the idea that human life is a cycle of suffering and rebirth, and only by reaching a state of Nirvana (enlightenment), it is possible to escape. In Buddhism, there are many doctrines that relate to different beliefs. They include the “four noble truths”: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. It is vital to have the right understanding, correct thought, correct speech, correct action, correct livelihood, correct effort, right mindfulness, and correct concentration for the noble eightfold path. All these are required in order to live a good life from the perspective of Buddhism.
What are the terms which are specific to Buddhism? Buddhists believe that there are three marks of existence, that are essential across life, these terms are specific to Buddhism, and they are: Dukkha, frustration, or dissatisfaction, ‘Life does not necessarily provide people with what they want, and things are always changing.’. Anatta, no soul, ‘There is no fixed sense of self because everything is constantly changing.’ (The Three Marks of Existence – Life and Teachings of the Buddha – Edexcel – GCSE Religious Studies Revision – Edexcel, n.d.). Annica, Impermanence, ‘Things in life are always changing.’ The three marks of existence are required to be reviewed when considering the possibility of a good life.
What are Socratic beliefs? Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who was one of the main sources of western thought to date. He created a method of questioning called the Socratic method, which was a form of an argumentative cooperative dialogue between two people, based on the answering and asking of questions to stimulate critical thinking and find ideas and hidden presuppositions.
What were the key beliefs? Is believed by Socrates that philosophy should achieve results for the greater well-being of society as a whole. He believed in the possible outcomes of an ethical system based on human reason rather than the theological doctrines of other people’s beliefs. He believed that human choice is motivated by the desire for a feeling of happiness, “Ultimate wisdom comes from knowing oneself, knowing yourself lets you be a better judge of how you should live your life.” (Socrates).
he believed that achieving true happiness it directly relates to the idea of a good life. Socrates believed that his method of identification and questioning of human nature directly translated into politics with the best form of government being not tyrannical or democratic but instead by when ruled by individuals who had the ‘greatest ability, knowledge, and virtue, and possessed a complete understanding of themselves.’ According to Socrates, ‘an unexamined life is not worth living.’ It was believed that the key to leading a good life is to examine the reasons behind the pleasures we enjoy and then control those passions.
In my opinion what makes a good life is a way we treat ourselves and others. Unless we have a personal relationship with people around us and our families (within reason), I believe it is impossible for us to experience good living. I think that it is really critical that we treat ourselves well, practising self-love is essential to contribute to the journey of experiencing a good life. not only this but I agree that behavior and actions are what is looked at when judging whether or not life has been spent well. Good living is directly related to being a good person.
In some ways, Buddhism, Socrates, and my own beliefs are related. Each of them has a different way to contribute to a good life. Socrates’s perspective of human reason is capable of achieving total well-being in a society and is able to relate to living a good life in a mass format as human nature is motivated by the need to feel happy. The way to achieve enlightenment is through good behavior and practice. This directly relates to the ability to live a good life since the enlightenment and living a good life are somewhat similar. The issues with these beliefs can be corrupted by the idea of personal superiority, with a view of our lives viewed through rose-tinted glass we are unable to locate whether we are living a truthfully good life or if we are simply convincing ourselves that what we are deciding to do is good inherently.
These ideas can lead to a good life if they are conducted in the right way, we can live a good life. By working to be better through enlightenment and making calculated decisions based on logical evaluation, we can be able to achieve a good life experience.
I think even though they differ in some ways from the way id perceive the journey to live a good life, they still have aspects that I think are similar to my own outlooks, from calculated thoughts and actions as well to good actions toward others and myself I think that both Buddhism and Socrates are relevant in the search to live a good life.
I think that the fulfillment of a good life can be achieved from the practice of partial Socratic practices. The way that Socrates plays off of human nature in order to determine and investigate intentions and questions more thoroughly I think is a great example of how one can live a good life. The way that actions that an individual is unsure about are investigated is by looking into the intent and reasons that that may or may not be a good idea. In the right way, this can be a successful practice of living a good life.