Life is a mode of existence and it reflects the experiences of living that characterize human beings whether they are good or bad. It is confounding to describe what a good life is, since it applies to both material life and moral life. For instance, having immense wealth and ability to enjoy every form of pleasure that ever existed on earth can mean that one is living a good life.
On the other hand, living in accordance with the social, religious, and personal morals and ethics means that one is also living a good life. The latter description of good life applies across the board since everybody has the ability to achieve it for everyone has the capacity to think and act morally. This essay explores what a good life is and describes plan of achieving it in terms of integrity, honesty, responsibility, and state obligation.
A Good life
Living a good life morally means living in accordance with the ethics and morals of the society. A person living a good life expresses virtues such integrity, honesty, responsibility, and obligation to the rules of the state. Although human beings pursue material and intellectual gains as they struggle towards self-actualization, these gains cannot earn them the virtue of being good, but they will rather pass for hardworking individuals. The rich people have wealth because of their hardworking character and they can access good things of life that bring happiness and pleasure, and live a good life materially; nevertheless, this does not make them good. A poor person can live a miserable life of poverty but with good moral life, while on the contrary, a rich person can live a good life of pleasure and happiness, but with bad moral life.
Therefore, when “good” describes virtues, pleasure and happiness due to money cannot make life good.
Morals and ethics that individuals observe to express virtues in life cause them to lead a good life. Integrity and honesty are two virtues that enhance people’s lives and they are inseparable because one cannot have integrity without being honesty or vice versa.
Educationally, integrity is a skill that demands learning and continued practice in order to internalize the virtue. The development of integrity is a life-long process that needs patience and endurance since it is a skill. If likened to a building, honesty and truth are two central pillars that support integrity as a virtue throughout the life of an individual. To develop this virtue of integrity in life, one must always adhere to its two pillars, because integrity is not a discrete achievement but a continuous achievement that needs constant efforts to maintain it. Responsibility is a powerful virtue which if exercised well by an individual, it does not only yield great benefits to the individual, but also to other people and the entire society.
The golden rule demands that there must be reciprocal responsibility in the society to enable people live harmoniously. Sense of responsibility in the society lessens the impacts of problems experienced because of collective response that lead to immediate solution. Becoming part of the solution in the society is being responsible and the excuse of blaming others would not arise. Since rights and responsibility relate to one another, it requires one to act within the limits of rights to become responsible. Therefore, the rights that govern social norms and regulations give one the degree of responsibility to struggle and attain good life for the benefit of all.
Citizens have a moral obligation to respect and advocate for the common interests of all people. For justice and peace to flourish in the society, citizens have great moral obligation to ensure they report criminal activities, help the poor, and conserve the environment. By doing this, they foster their states’ bid to build justice and a peace in society where virtues spring up, and thus a good life. Like responsibility, adherence to the laws of the land will enable one to develop a sense of obligation to the state. It is a great obligation of the citizens to help the state fight vices in the society and the best way to do it is by becoming loyal to the laws and being active in enforcing them. The concerted efforts of the state and its citizens will improve the lives of the people resulting into a good life.
To achieve good life based on observance of moral principles demands strict observance and application of ethics in everything. Complete observance of ethics yields virtues that make life good in any community.
The goodness of a person cannot result from material wealth, but it emerges from the good moral qualities that one has achieved in life. Virtues like integrity, honesty, responsibility, and obligation to the state are attributes of an individual and have no material value attached to them. This means that, a good life does not mean wealthy living.