By Jonathan Lear
Separated through millennia, Aristotle and Sigmund Freud gave us disparate yet compelling photographs of the human situation. but when, with Jonathan Lear, we scrutinize those thinkers' makes an attempt to provide an explanation for human habit when it comes to the next principle--whether happiness or death--the images crumble. Aristotle tried to floor moral existence in human striving for happiness, but he did not comprehend what happiness is any larger than we do. Happiness turned an enigmatic, regularly impossible, technique of seducing humankind into residing a moral lifestyles. Freud fared no larger while he attempted to floor human striving, aggression, and destructiveness within the loss of life force, like Aristotle attributing function the place none exists. Neither overarching precept can advisor or govern "the rest of life," within which our inherently disruptive subconscious strikes in breaks and swerves to impact who and the way we're. Lear exposes this tendency to self-disruption for what it truly is: a gap, a chance for brand spanking new probabilities. His insights have profound outcomes not just for research yet for our realizing of civilization and its discontent. (20001208)
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Additional resources for Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life (Tanner Lectures on Human Values)
However, when it comes to popular beliefs, we have seen that Aristotle has already cut his cloth to ~t current fashion. For the rest, he does no more 31 HAPPINESS, DEATH, AND THE REMAINDER OF LIFE than locate the logical space in which this enigmatic signi~er is placed. 40 Thus far we know practically nothing about happiness. 41 Aristotle’s remarks thus far have all the hallmarks of an interpretation—at least, according to one understanding of that term. It looks as though Aristotle is saying to his audience, “Look, this is what your life was already about.
Now if the function of man is an activity of soul in accordance with, or not without, rational principle . . 32 Hasn’t Aristotle at last given us the content of happiness? I don’t think so. Nothing of substance is added by bringing in the idea of rational activity. “Happiness” is the placeholder for the object of our concern when we take our whole lives into account (whatever it might be to do that). The rational principle here is nothing other than the intelligent, mind-directed approach to happiness 28 HAPPINESS (whatever that might be).
Fine. The real issue, though, is the lived content of this happiest life. Aristotle explicitly says that the lived moments of contemplation are both more pleasant and overall better than the noncontemplative moments of a contemplative life. So even in the best and happiest human life, most of the moments of that life will be lived with the realization that what ultimately makes that life the happiest and the best are passing moments within that life. And even in those best and happiest moments of the best and happiest life there is room for the thought that this is a _eeting part of one’s life.