As we begin thinking about our final project, I’d like us to crowdsource ideas for what that document should include. You will be writing something in the neighborhood of 10 pages or so, and it will need to be summative of the course in its integration of ideas and positions. So our ideas on this will change, but let’s go ahead and write something in the sand, before the tide comes in.
Aristotle believed that man should include a number of necessary and desirable elements in his overall aim of and plan for having a good or happy life. These elements should be coherently integrated with one another over a person’s whole life span, including both short-term and long-term goals. This is why he believed in a life plan.
This comprehensive life plan should also elaborate ways to achieve and integrate these aims with a view toward the most completeness (teleiotes) and self-sufficiency (autarkeia). A good life plan has virtuous activity as its cornerstone, according to Aristotle, because a good life is one that is shaped and directed through the exercise of virtue.
Is a good or worthwhile life plan possible? Aristotle states that a man of practical wisdom is able to deliberate “about what sorts of thing conduce to the good life in general.” So, yes, it’s possible. Because man is a social animal, this plan will include living with and working among family, friends, and fellow citizens, “since man is born for citizenship.”
So, how should we conceive of or organize our life plan? As if it were a self-help book? A declaration of some sorts? As a sort of contract with yourself? I’m interested in your reactions.
Regardless of its final form, here are some sections we might consider including in any template or proposal for a life plan:
- Talents and strengths
- Spiritual development
- Identification and achievement of potentials
- Lifestyle and quality of life
- Freedom, or liberty, or personal autonomy
- Social freedom
Others? Think in terms of a mini-table of contents for these. What will should be on it? Here’s a first stab:
- Introduction and laying out of basic assumptions
- Description of the approach taken, and of the factors considered
- The life plan itself, divided by section
- Action steps, both near- and long-term
- Conclusions, caveats, qualifications
This is merely meant to get us thinking, to start the process. It’s exciting! It’s up to us, and we get to use Reason!
Deadline for your comment to this post: Thursday, Feb. 2.