(The Good) Life and Leadership Laboratory

I’m a regular reader of about two dozen blogs. One of my favorites is Talking Philosophy, which recently featured a really compelling post by Jeff Mason, entitled “Philosophy and the Good Life.”

I’m not sure what inspired it, but I’m glad Mason indulged himself. A couple of excerpts intrigued me:

  • “Religion, as it were, does the thinking for the people who do not have time to think things through for themselves. Philosophy, however, asks people to think for themselves, to question doubtful premises and assumptions using reason, logic, and experience to provide the best arguments for their own position, while being able to put forward objections to rival arguments, and to answer objections to their own.”
  • “Finally, there are some people who appear to pursue truth and wisdom rather than pleasure, riches, fame or power. These, of course, are the philosophers. To be honest, when philosophers talk about the good life, they stack the deck in their own favor. Whenever they discuss it, the good life is the philosophical life. This does not mean that they are wrong, but we should be cautious how we receive their arguments. There is no such thing as the good life for everyone, and neither philosophers nor religious expositors have any right to lay down the law about it.”
  • Mason mentions how Aristotle suggests the philosophical life begins, which I think would be a good way to begin each morning: “in wonder at the universe and the spectacle of life.”
  • “The good life is a life devoted to the discovery and communication of truth within a community of like-minded people possessing moral integrity and a genuine desire to learn.”

That last quotation seems more appropriate to me as the definition of an ideal society: a society of leaders.

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