Golden Rules on Living the Good Life

What is a better life? What is joy? What is victory? What is pleasure? How should I face another person? How should I blend in with an unexpected situations? How can I handle things?

The answers to all these questions are condensed in a little book, The Golden Rules I co-authored with Michael Soupios:

Examine the life, participate life with vengeance; constantly search for new joys and new destines to achieve with your head. It echoes the verses of ancient Greek philosophers and most especially those of Plato through the voice of his hero, Socrates. Living life is all about analyzing life through reason, nature’s greatest gift to humankind. The value of reason in sensing and analyzing life is evident in all stages of life– by the baby who strains to explore its new environment to the grandparent who knowingly assesses and reads the headlines of the daily paper. Reason lets human beings take part in life, to be human is to believe, appraise, and explore the world, discovering new sources of spiritual and material pleasure.

Worry only about the things that are in your hands, the things which can be affected and changed by your actions, not about the things which are beyond your capacity. This rule summarizes several important attributes of ancient Stoic wisdom — attributes that remain powerfully suggestive for contemporary times. Most notably the belief in an ultimately rational purchase operating in the world reflecting a benign providence that guarantees appropriate outcomes in life. Thinkers like Epictetus did not only prescribe”religion” as an abstract philosophical principle; they provided a definite strategy based on spiritual and intellectual discipline. The key to resisting the hardship and discord that intrude upon each individual life is to cultivate a particular attitude toward adversity depending on the crucial distinction between these things we have the ability to control versus those that are beyond our capability to manage. The misguided investor might not be able to recoup his luck but he can resist the propensity to participate in self-torment. The victims of a natural disaster, a significant illness or an accident might not be able to recover and live their lives the way they used to, but they too can save themselves. To put it differently, while we can’t control all the results we seek in life, we can control our responses to those results and herein lies our potential for a life that is happy and fulfilled.

Treasure Friendship, the mutual attachment which fills the need for affiliation. Friendship can’t be obtained from the market place, but must be nurtured and valued in relationships imbued with confidence and amity. According to Greek philosophy, one of the defining characteristics of humanity that distinguishes it from other types of presence is a deeply engrained social instinct, the need for affiliation with others. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle saw the creation of society as a manifestation of the deep need for human affiliation as opposed to simply a contractual arrangement between differently detached individuals. Gods and animals don’t have this sort of need but for people, it’s an indispensable feature of the life worth living since you can’t talk of a finished human individuality, or of true joy, without the associative bonds known as”friendship.” No quantity of wealth, status, or power could adequately compensate for a life devoid of real friends.

Seek calming pleasures that give rise to peace of mind. In its many shapes and forms, pleasure is what every human being is later. Some pleasures are kinetic–shallow, and passing, fading way whenever the act that produces the pleasure ends. Often they’re succeeded by a sense of emptiness and mental pain and suffering. Other delights are catastematic–deep, and protracted, and continue even after the act which generates them ends; and it’s those joys that secure the well-lived life. That is the concept of the Epicurean philosophers which were maligned and misunderstood for centuries, especially in today’s era where their notions of the fantastic life have been confused.

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