A good life cannot find a sole definition which can be effective for all people. Similar to happiness, a good life is individual for each person according to their views on life, upbringing, social position, surroundings, and education. Without a good life, happiness cannot be reached. Moreover, many would agree that a good life is just another synonym of happiness which is widely discussed by various groups of people, disregarding their age and occupation. The common characteristics of a good life can still be outlined: Healthy and complete family, enough money in the bank account to satisfy simple needs as well as give the opportunity to allow oneself to enjoy things of luxury all the time or at least from time to time, strong health, living parents, deep and mutual love, true friends. The list can go on and on, however, I want to focus on the perception of a good life by four authors as well as include my own contemplation on this subject.
Dave Eggers depicted real humans’ values perfectly accurately for the present day. The material world where people are estimated by the amount of consumer’s goods they possess, can destroy an individual who happened to be unlucky enough to lose everything. “Zeitoun” highlights the unjust treatment which people are granted by their authorities. The author stresses that despite the duties of the policemen to protect the safety and well-being of the citizens, they violate their right for authority all the time, causing only more problems for the country. Power abuse destroys any traces of good life for people, stressing that without material goods, without property and documents, the person stops being a human being and is rejected in the consumer’s society. Similar ideas are depicted in Bill Clegg’s book who also outlines the life of a person who has lost everything but has found a strong willpower to overcome personal weaknesses and prove oneself that a good life is possible even when you have nothing, but can totally rely on yourself, knowing that you were true in your beliefs and feelings, and nothing could have diverted you from the chosen way.
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On the other side of the story, Abdulrahman, a Moslem, who is married with an ex-Christian, Kathy, is doomed to suffer from constant discrimination against his religious beliefs. His wife faces the same situation as she strictly follows Islamic customs and even her family disrespects her for this. No understanding is observed in the narrow-minded heads of people who know their own truths, and are unable to accept the difference of others, therefore, make the lives for the latter unbearable. Kathy and Abdulrahman, on the other hand, think even of their friends as of close family, responding with kindness and love with lives in their hearts.
Matthew Dickman in his “All-American Poem” relates how love changes the life. He cannot imagine a good life without someone who you can love, sometimes even when this love makes you sorrowful, you still cherish this strong emotion inside your heart. Dickman’s ideas are similar to my understanding of a good life, as for me love will always be the most significant out of all aspects that make my life complete and joyful. If you love, and you are loved back by the same person, you are always inspired to do with your life what you like, to enjoy it to the fullest, to always find solutions to any problems possible, and even to earn as much as you happen to wish. I do not undermine the importance of money in my life, however, I realize that if you have who to care about and someone who cares about you with the same tenderness and passion, you have the enthusiasm, all imaginable power to reach whatever you like. Therefore, Mark Sundeen’s ideas triggered mixed emotions in me: On the one hand, I agreed to his notion that the man can easily live without money despite all the desires he may happen to possess, however, the life cannot be complete, and if the person does not have other factors that make him or her happy, then the lack of money can ruin even any hint for a good life.
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