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Chapter 7: The good life: Our search for happiness

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Andrea Reyes

on 4 April 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 7: The good life: Our search for happiness

Key Thinkers
Review Questions
1. Explain the relationship between ethics, the good life and being happy.
4. Write a description of "the good life" as advertisers would have us believe.
Bible Reading
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
Focus Your Learning
Describe the connection between living the good life and being happy.

How must you involve others in your efforts to live the good life? What skills are required to attain happiness?

Name the ways that you are supported throughout your life as you seek the good life.
Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 7: The good life: Our search for happiness
Glossary Terms
According to advertisers, “the good life” is based on materialistic items and the things that we want instead of the things that we need. They would have us believe this “good life” by advertising how happy people look with materialistic goods such as nice cars, a huge house or a lot of money. Materialistic goods can keep us temporarily satisfied, but cannot truly help us achieve happiness by fulfilling us. Advertisers do not show the good life as living ethically with others. According to Christian ethics, the good life is a life measured by goodness with and for others, not materialistic items.
Opening Prayer
Grant to us, O Lord, the royalty of inward happiness, and the serenity which comes from living close to thee. Daily renew in us the sense of joy, and let the eternal spirit of the Father dwell in our souls and bodies, filling every corner of our hearts with light and grace; so that, bearing about with us the infection of good courage, we may be diffusers of life, and may meet all ills and cross accidents with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving thee thanks always for all things.
By: Andrea Reyes

"I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God."
We find happiness by living the good life. Living the good life means living a life that is measured by goodness. We obtain this ultimate good through ethics. By seeking the good, we seek also our happiness.



To achieve true happiness with God we must live the good life through ethics. Living ethically helps us to achieve the ultimate good in life by doing what is morally right. Doing good makes us feel happy. When it is our duty to help others we feel like we have a purpose when we have impacted the other’s life in a positive way. By following ethics we will live the good life that will lead us to happiness.
2. Identify how Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant and Levinas would describe the good life, and how that relates to happiness.
7. Research the vision statements and mission statements of 4-6 institutions.
3. Explain how the practice of the virtue of temperance supports the good life and the human search for happiness
Temperance means to take proper care of yourself. Temperance focuses on 3 main essentials in life that humans cannot survive without: food, drink and sex. The virtue of temperance is tempering the desire for sensual pleasure by using these passions for human growth. Without temperance we overindulge and become selfish and intemperate. We achieve happiness by finding temperance and moderation in these essentials in life because it makes them more meaningful to us.
5. Create a series of ads for the good life, each ad from the perspective of one of the key thinkers featured in this chapter.
6. Create an or series of ads for the good life based on virtues.
Plato (427-247 BC)
Aristotle (384-322 BC)
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Emmanuel Levinas (1905-1995)
Richard G. Cote
Plato would describe the good life through contemplation of the good. In contemplation we bask in the good and the good enters into our knowing. He said that reason finds the good that pervades everything. He thinks that philosophers are the closest to good and are truly happy because they know how to act in accordance with beliefs by making true choices about the value and worth of their actions.
Aristotle would describe the good life as to live according to our purpose, according to reason. To find the good in anything is to discover its purpose. The absolute good can only be found in God and that the highest form of happiness is to live an ethical life. His advice was to avoid the extremes because a happy person is someone who finds the good in the middle ground.
Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas would describe God as the higher good. People were made for happiness and the fuller happiness is found only in a loving vision of God. God’s self-gift to us in Jesus and the Holy Spirit changes how we define the good.
Kant describes the good life through duty and obligation. He said that people who are willing to reason will do good because it is their duty to do so, not for personal gain. This is how people of reason act because they must find the reason for doing good within themselves.
Levinas describes the good from a vocation. When we are called to respond to the face of the other, we are called to be good without any reward. It is the other who awakens me to do the highest good and leads me to happiness.
8. Identify the kinds of books that are trying to help people in their search of the good life.


Money and Happiness: A Guide to Living the Good Life by Laura Rowley
Money Can Buy Happiness: How to Spend to Get the Life You Want by MP Dunleavey
Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School
Our goal is to reach and serve the broader Ajax community through the contribution that our students can make through excellence in academics or through Catholic Christian community service. The staff at Notre Dame will be committed to fostering in our students a 'love of neighbor' by continually encouraging them to serve others; the less able, those in need, the senior community. Our goal will have been reached if all of our graduates can say that they leave us as "persons for others".
St. Francis de Sales Church
We are committed to not only listening to God's word but also living out the Gospel in our daily lives. We are also committed to fostering an active participation for all ages in our Christian community by providing opportunities for individuals to use their time and talents to serve the parish.
A family is a natural institution that helps shape our lives.
Value honesty with ourselves and others.
Create an environment where each of us can find support and encouragement in achieving our life’s goals.
Respect and accept each person’s unique personality and talents.
Promote a loving, kind, and happy atmosphere.
Always resolve conflicts with each other rather than harboring anger.

World Vision
Vision statement: Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness; Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.

World Vision provides emergency assistance to children and families affected by natural disasters and civil conflict, work with communities to develop long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.
Motivated by their faith in Jesus Christ, they serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

exists only between those who love one
another; the free self-giving of one person to the other.
Ex. In the catholic tradition, chastity is practiced by waiting until marriage because sex is meant for procreation.
that which is morally right; righteousness.
the integration of sexuality within the person; living in such a way that our own needs, desires and impatience do not get in the way of things.


God has placed the desire for happiness in the human heart in order to draw us to the One who alone can fulfill it. We find happiness in life by living the good life; that is, life in the way of Christ.
Ex. Living the good life through ethics and morality will lead us to happiness with God.
social constructs that give structure and form to a community’s set or systems of meanings, beliefs and values.
Ex. High school is an educational institution that gives concrete structure and form to the value of learning.
Ex. the beggar makes us feel the need to be responsible for the other.
anxious concern for another.
restraint of human passions & appetites in accordance with reason; self- control of the body.

human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will, that govern our actions, order our passions and guide our conduct according to reason and faith.
Ex. prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice are the cardinal virtues that successful people have.
Ex. Food and drink are vital for humans, but we must not overindulge and misuse them.
Plato was the teacher of Aristotle. He compared the good to the sun. We cannot locate the good anywhere, because it’s in all things without being something itself. We do not find the good; we find only good things.

Plato struggled against sophists, who proclaimed that there could be no truth and held that life is ruled by basic needs and desires, not by reason.
Aristotle's theories were influenced by Church's moral thinking.
He felt that the search for happiness and the good has more to do with acting intelligently than it does with following one’s inclinations. According to Aristotle, people do not find the good; they find a good. The absolute good can only be found in God.
Richard G. Cote is the author of the novel "Universal Grace: Myth or Reality?" He wrote about friendship and said that real friendship is the unhesitating opening of one's heart and mind to the other. He wrote that true friendship exists only between those who love one another; it shows the willingness to spend oneself for the other. With true friendship, the free self-giving of one person to another takes place.
The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less by John Robbins
To involve others in efforts to live the good life we must develop friendships since we cannot live the good life by ourselves. Friendship is essential for the good life, and is something all of us must work at developing. Living the good live also means to live with and for others. We must be selfless, open, giving and accepting to attain happiness with others.

The desire for happiness is connected with ethics and morality. All ethical theories insist that ethics is in search of the good.
The good life, that is the ethical, moral life, is also the happy life.
The gospels speak of happiness in terms of beatitude - blessedness.
My family, friends and faith in God have supported me throughout my life as I seek the good life. Living the good life may be difficult at times, but the support I have guides and keeps me in the right direction. They also play an important role in my life by teaching me valuable lessons.
Closing Prayer
The Good Life: You Can Walk In God’s Perfect Will by Jeffery Magada
The Secret Of Happiness: Three thousand years of searching for the good life by Richard Schoch
Lord God, send us Your Divine and Moral Virtues to assist people
Faith, to deeply understand and produce evidence to the unseen
Impart Hope to be determined and persevere successfully
For persons to consider a little generosity to Charity
To present Prudence by being careful
For untruthfulness to bring into Justice
Give fortitude for lawmakers and government officials to be strong
Bring in Temperance to exercise Patience and Tolerance
We ask these in the name of Father Christ Jesus to send out the Virtues of the Holy Spirit

Plato: contemplation
Aristotle: purpose
Thomas Aquinas: vision of God
Kant: duty
Levinas: the other
He said that a person's core is a desire for the good. He also believed that people live the good life by using their intelligence and also their other capabilities such as their senses and desires.

He identified four virtues that successful people have:
1. Prudence- how to reason well in moral decision making
2. Temperance- how to remain moderate in the exercise of emotions
3. Fortitude- how to be courageous in the face of life’s difficulties
4. Justice- how to act well in relation to others

He also identified gifts that we are born with and soon become virtues as we live accordance with them: faith, hope and charity.

He lived in the period of Enlightenment and because of this, Kant sought to find an unassailable ground for ethics. He argued that people who are willing to reason will do good because it is their duty to do so, not for something in return. He also acknowledged the immortality of the soul because humans cannot achieve the supreme good in this life.
He placed the infinite good, God, at the heart of ethics. The good comes from a call, a vocation not from myself. He also had a great appreciation for things such as good food and the comforts of home, but was aware of the danger of being totally absorbed in caring for oneself.
Why do you think that many people are consumed with the idea that money and success will make us happy?
Do you agree that money can buy happiness when you don't spend it on yourself?
Who or what makes you the happiest?
How do you find happiness in the little things in life?
From the happiness survey, what was your top signature strength and how does it help you become happy when you're doing an activity that you do not enjoy?
What are some changes that you can make in your life to help you live "the good life"?
The search to be happy lies behind every human vocation.
Conscience as a capacity is our capacity to know and do the good.
The good life starts with you, the agent
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