The Good Life-As Viewed In Ancient Europe Essay, Research Paper
This essay will present an organized material in which it will discuss the idea of the Good Life as the Egyptians, Greeks and Hebrews thought of it. It will give the basic definitions of each about the Good Life and illustrate with some examples.
In the Egyptian culture the Good Life was a life of attunement to Ma at, a life of obedience to the gods and conformity. The ideal man was silent. Time was as nature s time, cyclical and repetitive. It was modeled after the seasons of nature. Ordinary time was of no importance or significance to them. Neither was the particular. The ideal was the begging. It was the complete opposite of linear time. There was a strong emphasis on rituals and ceremonial burials.
The Greek outlook was taken in the whole human condition. Man was god-like but still weak and ephernal, he is a mortal and suffers. Differing from the Judaic line of thought, man didn t have the individual worth but was still human and his life was worthwhile. He pondered and grasped the meaning of life. He can live well by learning the rhythms, which govern life. The thought that man was like the gods and vice versa was expressed by Pindar (518-438 B.C.E.) Man had freedom and everything happened due to necessity or fate. Homer expressed this line of thought well in the play Oedipus the King. The theme was that even the great and wise must suffer. Yet man isn t a puppet; he can accept and live with his fate. The Good Life meant enjoying the good things of life, it also meant living with the sense of proportion and respect for Man s limits. The goal was to strive for all-rounded excellence balancing out the virtues.
The Hebrew, sometimes referred to as the Ancient Jews, view of a good life was different from the two previous outlooks. They believed that man had a meaning in life but also had self worth. Although the meaning of their life was questioned during several periods of history. For example they spent several years wondering the desert. They were also made slaves to the Assyrians and deported to upper Mesopotamia. They didn t deny the existence of other gods; they just felt that they had a pact or code of trust to theirs. Their god was referred to in several terms: Yahweh, the Savior or the Messiah. They were ruled by a human figure but he was seen as an interpreter or messenger for an even higher figure. Wealth wasn t a luxury that they enjoyed in the early stages of development although the rule of certain kings did bring prosperity. Life for the Hebrew was not cyclical and there was hope of a better future.
In completion of this essay you have seen that the Good Life can be viewed many different ways. Each culture was different and unique but still there was the general struggle to reach attunement with one s self, if this was called for, or a god or god like representative. Several ideas and lines of thought have been passed along to today s modern cultures. And likewise several ideas have been dropped.