According to Aristotle, it is the wish of every human being to attain a eudemon life. A eudemon life is the kind of life where someone is faring well or is generally doing well. Aristotle is of the opinion that humans seek after nothing else but the greatest good in all they do. This greatest good is what is known as eudaimonia. Eudemonia is attained when one lives well, does well and generally flourishes.
According to Aristotle, a person's ability to achieve eudemonia will depend on the person having a given amount of power or having some resources. Those individuals in the society who do not have the power or the resources are never able to maximise on their moral potential. Due to the fact that humans are rational beings, they have to live under rules and regulations. Eudemonia, therefore, depends on having rules that have been spelt out and agreed upon by the majority of the citizens. The proper rules help humans to have the good life they desire which is what leads to the achievement of eudemonia.
In the view of Aristotle, having a good life, also referred to as eudaimonia, involves three types of goods. The first goods are the external ones such as food and shelter. The second type is bodily goods such as vitality and health, and finally, goods of the soul which include reason and mind. There are also goods which are based on a human's social and rational nature which also include friendship and knowledge. We need these external goods for our survival. Goods of the soul, unlike other goods, are unlimited and we can never have too much of them. Aristotle argues that true happiness and eudemonia are a result of goods of the soul.
Aristotle's view of eudemonia is linked to Eudemian and Nicomachean Ethics. According to Aristotle, eudemonia involves the exhibition of virtue and activity. He uses the word ar?te which means excellence. The show of virtue and activity has to be done with reason. Aristotle defines eudemonia this way, due to the fact that he understands human nature from an essentialist point of view. He maintains that being rational beings, humans use reason and as such, the real function of a human being is to exercise reason to its fullest.
According to Aristotle, the well being of a person, also known as the person's eudemonia, can only be gained if the person has developed his or her human capabilities as a rational being. In Aristotle's view, eudemonia for humans is the ability to reason in an excellent manner. Aristotle also insists that eudemonia must involve some level of action or activity which means that it is not enough that a person possesses some qualities, he or she must actually do something to show that he or she possesses those qualities. Just a good character cannot be enough; some activity must be seen in the form of competences.
A show of eudemonia then requires that the person lives well and is able to be rational in a manner that exhibits excellent reasoning. In line with the Nicomachean Ethics to which Aristotle subscribes, human beings can only live a fulfilled life if they are able to reason to an excellent level. In the view of Aristotle, reason cannot just be theoretical; it also must be implemented practically in the activities that the person engages in. According to Aristotle, eudemonia can only exist where there is virtue. Other vital elements for eudemonia to be achieved include beauty, well behaved children, wealth and friends.
Aristotle, however, insists that eudemonia is not a quality that one can achieve just by single acts of goodness; it is something that a person has to build over a period of time. When all these elements have been put together, it is possible to define eudemonia in the words of Aristotle as the ability of a person's soul to exhibit rational activity in life that is complete and free of all action. When one reads Bill Clegg's works, one realizes that the memoir is a sequel to another title the Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, where the young man talks about Bill Clegg's experiences as a struggling writer in New York while being a drug and sex addict for two months. This addiction led to him losing a firm that he co-founded, his lover and even his apartment. After going through a rehab, Bill Clegg writes another memoir which is chosen to focus on in this essay. Therefore, this essay will state how he promised to stay clean for not less than 90 days (Dickman, 37).
How It Works
The 90 day period is the amount of time that is recommended by those, who propose the recovery programme of twelve steps. In his quest to stay clean, Bill Clegg finds a nice suitable studio in Manhattan. In seeking eudemonia, Clegg realizes that he has to see beyond the demons that were haunting him, and instead focus on relating with a group of addicts. Many of the addicts that Clegg had to live with were worse addicts than he was at the time. Due to the fact that Clegg is broke, he has to rely on the hospitality of a couple of friends who still keep in touch with him. The other person who is willing to help Clegg is his rehab sponsor, Jack.
Clegg tried to recover from the agony and pain. He tried to stay sane and avoided self pity as much as he could. Clegg relates how he started on the path to recovery during the 90 days and struggled to rebuild his damaged career, a normal life with a boyfriend, an apartment and a cat that he loved. He tells how handful friends willing to lend him a car from time to time, give him some food, a roof over his head and a company that kept him alive. His memoir, "90 days" ,tells about making new friends and finding a new family when he lived with people who were also taking part in a 12-step programme aimed at overcoming addiction.
According to Clegg, the best prescription for eudemonia is to be able to connect with other people. In his memoir Clegg explains how he learnt to overcome the craving that had ruled over his life for some time. He realized that he had to create his own little world where he could live free of addiction. In order to achieve complete happiness, he had to stop himself from responding to temptation with a renewed determination. He also realized that the only way he could live happily was if he accepted his new life that had no order or wealth. This was contrary to the life he had previously been used to. He insists that he had to practice sobriety and had to learn to be accountable, especially since he wished to be a role model to the other addicts in his group.
Just like in Aristotle's view of eudemonia, Clegg began to realize that happiness in life did not have to be dependent on the items that we attach value to. He realizes that the people that he had previously not known about had suddenly become very important in his life. At first it seems unlikely, but as he settles in and begins to appreciate the little things in life he realizes that his happiness did not depend on the things he previously owned. Despite the fact that his life had sunk so low, Clegg purposes to appreciate what he calls "small miracles of kindness" that he sees all around him.
Clegg says that his happiness now does not depend on the wealth he owned, but results from the phone calls that he received from handful friends; the calming walks that he took with his dog in the park, as well as the people who helped him quit his addictions. Later on, Clegg is forced to help another addict quit his addictions by being made the person's sponsor. This chance allows him to share in the person's struggles and sorrows and to show that he was just as human as all the other addicts. He admits that these are some of the qualities that he had been lacking before in his life. Clegg agrees with Aristotle when he admits that he did not suddenly become a saint after his problems. He admits to his wrongs as a way of attaining eudemonia.
Matthew Dickman in his poem, "All American Poem", also talks about some of the things that a person needs in order to achieve eudemonia. According to Dickman, human contact is very important and should be cherished (Dickman 24). In the authors view, happiness comes from the memories we make with the people we come into contact. The best way to achieve eudemonia, we should hold on to these memories as they will keep us happy. He focuses on a downbeat America to show how important these human contacts can be.
The poem, "All American Poem", shows how ecstatic can be the nature of our daily lives. The sacred and pop culture is both combined in these poems which are not hermetic in order to portray what life really is about. Matthew Dickman shares his remedies for a lonely life with his readers. Part of the poem reads, "I have learned to conquer loneliness...the way television conquers loneliness." he insists that the only way a person will be able to be truly happy is if he or she is able to conquer the fear of being alone.
In conclusion, Aristotle, Matthew Dickman and Bill Clegg agree on the next: one should not simply do good things in order to be seen to be doing good things. On the contrary, one should do good things out of an inbuilt desire to do things which are good. This, they argue, is what true happiness is about. The person has to have a desire to do the right thing and then go ahead and repeat the positive action at a chance. Desiring or wanting to do the right thing is, therefore, very important. The three further agree from their writings that happiness is inborn and cannot be forced on a person. Going ahead and acting on that desire is equally important. While acting positively is a very noble thing, doing so because that is your true desire is the true form of Eudemonia.