What can you call a good life

What is the good life ’?

If we ask fellow human beings in our part of the world what they lack for a ‘good life’, one thing usually comes first: time. Our basic needs are met, but most of them lack this unsaleable, constantly flowing good.

If we ask further what constitutes a ‘good life’, something often comes with time too - for example time with the people who are important to you. After that, many people name time for a relaxing evening, vacation or hobbies and only later do financial security and material prosperity come.

Even the federal government is concerned with the ‘good life’. Not only because of this, thoughts about it are anything but ‘apolitical hippimist’ or a purely personal matter. On the contrary: the good life ’seems to be increasingly unevenly distributed. For example, life expectancy in Bremen differs by 8 years, depending on whether the residents live in a quarter with a high or low income population. In Glasgow, life expectancy now differs by as much as 20 years - depending on the social group.

So the good life has both a very concrete dimension in the personal “here and now” (whether your friends say “Carpe diem”, “Seize the day” or “Yolo” to celebrate the good life), as well as a political one Dimension. And this political dimension has it all - it is perhaps one of the last retreats of our utopias. The Chancellor's lack of alternatives, political constraints, everyday problems - all of this disappears when we ponder the ‘good life’.

How does it look? In what kind of society do we want to live (well) in the future? Are there only self-driving cars and connected kitchen appliances or are other things different there as well?

Interestingly, M. Nussbaum does not understand factors of the ‘good life’ to be mere things or actions, but rather the enabling of basic skills to be exercised. In her book Justice or The Good Life ’, she lists these:

1. The ability to live a full human life to the end; not to die prematurely or to die before life is so reduced that it is no longer worth living.

2. The ability to enjoy good health; to eat adequately; have adequate accommodation; Having opportunities for sexual satisfaction; to move from one place to another.

3. The ability to avoid unnecessary pain and have peaceful experiences.

4. The ability to use the five senses to imagine, think and judge.

5. The ability to have attachments to things and people outside of ourselves; to love those who love and care for us and to be saddened by their absence; Generally speaking: to love, to mourn, to feel longing and gratitude.

6. The ability to get an idea of ​​what is good and to think critically about one's own life planning.

7. The ability to live for and in relation to others, to recognize and show solidarity with other people, to enter into various forms of family and social relationships.

8. The ability to live in connection with animals, plants and all of nature and to treat them with care.

9. The ability to laugh, play and enjoy recreational activities.

10. The ability to live your own life and not someone else's.
10 a. The ability to live your own life in your own environment and context

But in the end it is probably of secondary importance who describes the ‘good life’ and in what way. Instead of waiting for definitions, the best thing to do is to write something you enjoy on a piece of paper. And then just take that into account more often. Analogous to this: write everything on a piece of paper that is not fun and do that less!

In terms of society as a whole or even globally, it is becoming more difficult to enable as many people as possible to enjoy the good life. Growing social inequality, in many regions still existing, bitter poverty and environmental degradation. Is it naive to idiotic to look for the good life on a large scale?

When Bertold Brecht went for a walk with a friend, he asked: "Exile, poverty, the fear of the Nazis, the arduous work on plays - what was the use?" Brecht replied: "It would have been easier for them without us."

So let's look for the good life and make it possible for others. It would not only be a shame, it would be fatal if, above all, advertising-saturated glossy magazines write boring articles about the good life and otherwise simply forget it. As we approach this topic, on the other hand, we will neither avoid controversial topics nor forget what is worth living - because it is hidden somewhere for everyone: the good life.


[The cover picture and the photo embedded in the article are Creative Commons.]