When pressed with the question "What is the good life?" there is the tendency either to indulge in erudite eulogies to some vague convention (in a nutshell - social normativity) trying to pass off as 'higher', 'holier', and for that reason its opaque and obscurantist framework is of course "beyond normal reason". And when we aren't telling fairytales and whoring our minds and bodies with fantasy - we are perhaps more straight talking and simply repeat the "holy riddle" in some simplified set of conditionals - "thou shalt's" or "this is proper". We see the latter in tabloid journalism every day.
But let us cut to the chase - and sweep a lot of so called philosophy off the table. We do not need any more theosophic sophistry as modes of governance! What policy can derive from that which may be regarded as 'optimum'??? And who would depend on such skewed 'spiritual equilibria' as 'goodness' in the first place??? Two social groups:
A group empowered but suffering a fragile sustenance of power, who depends heavily on mediations and countervailing and evasive 'speech acts' to avoid a full onslaught that would seriously undermine the illusion of their necessity...
And the second group - those who are by nature weak and slothful, who simply don't want to know better - who prefer opiates and cheap alcohol to strength, banquet, war and orgy - who prefer 'humility' (as a kind of reverse snobbery) to Glory. And where there is goodness, greatness, glory - they elect something that undermines its foundations and brings it back to their ash and chaff.
When two such general groupings prevail - humanity is indeed in a weak state in all senses of the word, spiritually, psychological, physiological [to remain in the current discursive framework of "mind, body, spirit" and all its... Permutations or mere distortions and lack of clarity...]. And where are we today? We do not need Karl Marx or Adolf Hitler to help us understand. They were the seeds in our compost, from which much grows today.
What of all the great achievements such as science, space technology, engineering, sexual freedom??? I hear you ask. But - this is to get to the point of our original question. These great achievements are for reasons other than what we have mentioned. These achievements are completely besides and opposed to the groupings of weakness and decay - be they evangelical presidents or unwashed self destroying 'activists' [such choice!]. Look at what the average President aims to achieve today - it is something other than any great project such as the Moon landing. And look at what the 'average citizen' seeks to achieve - sustenance at the cost of other great things, and of course - no wars please even if it means ones grandchildren will know of nothing... Good... Not even economic comfort or security.
And all this - is in the name of humility, morality, sometimes even 'Christianity' or 'Islam' - all of which are lost today. There are few Christians or Muslims remaining (when have we last enjoyed a Renaissance Pope? Or a great Imam or Sheikh?). There are no great sages or liberators, no Caesars or monks. No beings who can be said to be extreme or strong in their own format - be it banquet or Spartan severity.
And what is the good life? It is not sufficient to say 'temperance', or 'humility', or 'charity'. For seldom is there an answer to the question "for whom, for what. why?" that is sufficient and satisfying. The answers usually are 'for the people' (now a somewhat degenerate mass of soaked ashes) or of course 'the state', the 'public interest', or 'humanity' - an abstraction that usually is employed by certain groups in precarious power positions that deploy this obscurantism to pacify the electorate that seeks sustenance in such 'moral opiates' - in a nutshell - nothingness!
Let us cut to the chase, and be unafraid. The good life is an active life - and its sincere practice is not a 'stupid honesty' - but its execution without shame. A life that banquets, orgies, goes to war, or commits itself to the most severe austerities and exercises - without shame, without any need to justify itself to any group that depends on weak forces. It is a life of a Caesar, a Borgia, a Spartan or an old Caliph [not an 'Ayatollah' of the 20th Century], it is the Buddhist monk in hard training or a Hindu Sage in deep fasting and sleepless meditation.
Can we begin now, to talk sense? Can we get back to being human? Without shame that is 'too Christian' or humility that is too Asiatic??? And without a sense of false austerity that is a nothingness, and leads to nothingness, that you might find in a Corrupt Middle Eastern state, or even in the hills of Afghanistan?
Where in the world is our humanity?
Perhaps we will begin to find it in places deemed... Immoral? Who among you will have the courage then, to enjoy the extreme pleasures or partake in the harsh austerities of such abodes and fields? Hmm?