Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The well-lived life like participating in a jazz band

What benefit for our daily lives can we gain from a consideration of what life means? It’s been suggested that we consider the meaning of life to be happiness, but happiness not as the pursuit of pleasure, but as a state of our being that maximizes use of our full human capacities. However, we should go beyond Aristotle in emphasizing that one of the key human capacities that must be developed is the capacity for love and compassion for others. The metaphor is that the well-lived life is like participating in a well-functioning jazz band, that balances individuality and cooperation. Here everyone has individual free expression within the structure of the piece. We're free within physically determined bounds and we can decide what happens within those bounds. - Timothy Bartik (via Terry Eagleton)

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