12 December 2011

Ideas of the Great Philosophers: Ethics

The idea of ethics goes deeper then man's ability to do right or wrong. One major aspect is the search for summum bonum, or life's greatest good. Great philosophers have spent their lives trying to discover what makes a life worth living, and ethics concludes it to be a mixture of right action and life's greatest good. "The right act can readily be known once the greatest good has been determined, for it becomes simply that act which enhances the realization of the greatest good, and the immoral act is that mode of behavior which is a deterrent to its realization." (Sahakian)

"Who are you?" It may have been a simple statement within the plot of a beloved children's book. But like Alice, most people have not realized who they are. Socrates was one of our greatest philosophers and died for his ideas. Which is to "know thyself: for the unexamined life is not worth living." If you asked yourself in the mirror who you are, would you know?

If you do not know yourself, you will encounter difficulties and ultimately unhappiness according to Socrates. To understand ones-self completely will lead to power, self control, and success. "Individuals encounter difficulty only because they do not truly know themselves-their natures, limitations, abilities, motives, the entire gamut of their personalities." It is not a simple path, but through rigorous self reflection, this can be accomplished. By understanding your limitations and potentials, you can set goals for yourself which can be achieved.

Right now in history we live in a very difficult time. It is easy to become frustrated with the difficulties that we face every day. But how, within all the chaos, how do we lead a fulfilling and happy life? I agree completely with Socrates, which is why I'm taking this year as a year of self-reflectiong and development. But along with leaning who I am, I need to quiet that voice in my head that constantly worries about our world. The only thing that makes me feel better: be smart, know whats happening, and live in the moment. Ignorance is not bliss, be fully aware at all times. Listen to your intuition, and find the things in your life that bring you gratification.

For me, I fill my time with listening to amazing music, working on artistic devises (photography, drawing, painting) being around the people I love most, being silly, hula-hooping, lying on a couch with a cat cuddling with my face. All the tiny things throughout your day that just make you smile. Strive to give yourself those moments, because whatever happens in the future is unknown. You can plan for it, but remember that right now is all you really have. So enjoy it.

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