Is the good life sipping champagne while relaxing on a catamaran sailing down the beautiful Caribbean Sea with scantily clad women or is it driving out the showroom with that new Mercedes ? Maybe it is trying on that Armani suit and saying, “I’ll take!” or even entering that exclusive cocktail party. Many also believe Capitalism is the best thing yet. Do you? When I was younger and unenlightened, I thought this was the answer for me.
Please tell me. What happens when the champagne bottle runs dry and the ecstasy wears off? Do we realize that there has to be more to life than just all this hedonistic behaviour? This highly contested question has been pondered by
several generations before us such as Plato and Aristotle and it will continue to be debated even after! What was their answer?
Well their answer was related to politics and good governance and utility for all. Not to drift but I admire the Greek system of government where each citizen was given the opportunity to be a part of their ‘cabinet’ and make decisions! Of course, they had less than 500 people in their city-state and only men could participate, which would mean I would be next to dead if we still had that system but I digress. Where have we gone wrong?
Inherently, it is always the government’s fault when something goes wrong but is that always the case? Maybe sometimes it is more complicated than that. So whose fault is it? The Capitalists? The Communists? I am not entirely sure myself either but I am definitely sure that something needs to be done to be able to achieve the greatest utility for all! Actually, in Plato’s day, Politics was not something for everyone to endeavor in; it was destined for a person with a higher consciousness of people’s pains and needs and someone with a true sense of justice. What we have today is someone who has failed in every other area of expertise deciding (a) I will make money in politics or (b) I will use my money to get into politics to get more money, along with power. Rest assured I can confidently say no modern day politician loses sleep on his King sized bed and air-conditioned room while his citizens are suffering. Maybe the older philosophers like Socrates would have died trying to help or find that greater truth.
When things are going “good”, they are going great! However, when things are going “bad” they are going bad, and may be the dialectic of life just being a cycle is quite apparent. Even the Bible talks about 7 good years and seven bad ones. It’s a pity an electoral term is 5 years so we don’t know who to blame!
Jokes aside, necessity is the mother of invention and only when we are forced to go outside our comfort zones, then does anything happen. So comfort is killing us! However, the two extremes of anything are always scary. It is for us to come out successful while maintaining a balance: note, a balance is not fifty-fifty.
I guess life is made up of different stages and at each stage there is something new to learn. Though we cannot experience everyone’s life, it is for us to be considerate towards their challenges. Hey so what’s the answer to the good life? Well, again, we need a balance of that champagne glass and broken glass but we also need to be aware of all the suffering and exploitation. When we buy all the gadgets we still know that some kid was forced into child labour doing it. Additionally, while we are on that catamaran, some bartender is being paid minimum wage for you to splurge. Basically, we have to enjoy life and what it has to offer but we should not be caught up with the consumerism to keep up in the rat race. We should aspire to put more of the nontangible priceless things in our life!