#465 Virtuous Activity of the Soul

Aristotle on How to Be Happy

In our last +1, we talked about Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and the fact that his word for “happiness” was VERY different than our word.

Eudaimonia, as we discussed, literally means “good soul” and implies a powerful sense of actualizing our potential—succeeding in expressing the best within ourselves.

Today we’re going to focus on HOW Aristotle teaches us to create THAT type of “happiness.”

Pop quiz: Can you guess?

Pop answer: In a word: Virtue.

In a Greek word: Areté.

Aristotle tells us that the ONLY way to have a “good soul” and experience the deepest sense of well-being and happiness is to, essentially, express the best version of yourself moment to moment to moment. To live with virtue.

Here’s how he puts it: “But what is happiness? If we consider what the function of man is, we find that happiness is a virtuous activity of the soul.”

> “Virtuous activity of the soul.”

Wow. Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL.

> “Virtuous activity of the soul.”

Just for a moment… Imagine a culture in which our sense of happiness was grounded in a commitment to “virtuous activity of the soul.”

Then imagine YOUR life in which your happiness was connected to the virtuous activity of your soul.

What’s that mean?

We’ll talk more about how to hit that target via Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean tomorrow.

For now: At a choice point today, just ask yourself, “What would my soul like me to do right now? What would ‘virtuous activity’ of the best within me look like?’”

Then, of course, have fun high-fiving your inner soul as you rock it.

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