On Eudaimonia

“… eudaimonia is the human entelechy.” — Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, p. 349

I can vividly remember the first time I read those words back in 1991. I was still in high school and I immediately went to the dictionary to find out the meaning of the two words I didn’t know. That phrase solidified my desire to study philosophy in college. (There wasn’t enough courses that fit my schedule to get my bachelor’s in philosophy, so I had to minor in it and major in history.)

Eudaimonia, Aristotle’s idea of happiness or the good life derived through rational living, has informed my entire life since then. Ayn Rand’s Objectivism is, I think, the perfect realization of his conception. Lately I’ve gotten it into my head that I need to write on the subject and bring their ideas into the self-improvement, self-help canon.

If you’ve read that genre to any degree, you’ll know that it invariably takes emotion as a given, such that the goal of it is to feel better about yourself. It’s almost as if the authors regard the subject of virtue and reason as irrelevant. Even the cognitive psychologists like Seligman and Beck emphasize the centrality of emotion, though they’re immeasurably better because they understand that thought precedes emotion.

I’m working on my outline but I’m not going to get into it just in case it fizzles like so many of my grandly-started ideas. I’m really enamored of the central idea, which I think could be the start of something big. We’ll see. I will, of course, keep this blog updated with any progress.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: