Posts tagged ‘Joss Whedon’

A Life Well Lived

I went to the cinema to see Joss Whedon’s film of Much Ado About Nothing. One of the ads that preceded the film was for San Miguel beer, and the ad’s slogan was- Una Vida Bien Vivida- A Life Well Lived.

It got me thinking – what is a life well lived? Socrates said ‘The unexamined life is not worth living”, so for him a life well lived is one in which you cease living through habit and conditioning, and instead clarify what it is you are doing with your life, where your actions and behaviour come from, and what thoughts have made these events come about. This makes your life full of spontaneous yet well-thought out responses to life, rather than reflex conditioned ones.

That may not be everyone’s idea of a life well lived. In the past my conception probably included a certain level of materialism, the idea that a surplus of cash helps to make a well-lived life. But recently I’ve changed my mind. I am not against having money, but since the past couple of years have brought a forced reduction in my income, I’ve had to revise my ideas.

A well-lived life must mean one in which, as an individual (and there is no way we can experience life other than as individuals) we feel that we have done something good with the life that we are given. I know that good is a very broad word, and I use it deliberately, because the kind of good we can do ranges from raising children, to making art, cooking food, making wine, working for our families, loving others and yes- even drinking San Miguel beer. Good spreads itself throughout the landscape of our lives, overwhelming the evil that we also do.

A few years ago I looked back over my life in a very long sweep of personal history. This presented a jagged series of ups and down, times of plenty and joy alternating with times of woe, easy times and rougher times. But looking back from that present point I realised that the waves of good and bad formed a pattern in which the final result was good. I was reassured by that, that the overall pattern of my life constituted a ‘life well lived’ although I didn’t characterise it like that at the time. I didn’t have the ‘San Miguel philosophy’ to help me out. How pleasing to find philosophy alive and well in the cinema.

July 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm Leave a comment

The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.