Finding the good life

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Throughout this semester we have had themes such as “seeking a good life,” “celebrating a good life,” and “fighting for a good life,” but we have not had a strong emphasis on the cost of a good life. Everyone has control of their life and can determine what costs it will entails to reach a good life. There may be several different ways to achieve such a life, but no matter what direction one goes, seeking a good life can be a very selfish journey because it is an individual quest. On this individual quest, how many people do we stop from achieving the good life by achieving our own?

No matter how much we think we do not affect other people, all our choices have direct and indirect effects on the people around us. Siddhartha’s journey is the best example of a selfish quest for a good life. He did not care who he hurt to get there, just as long as he got there. He abandons his family, his best friend, his lover, and the son they had together. Siddhartha may have achieved his good life, but how many of the people did he hurt eventually make it there too? Most parents, especially fathers for their sons, want their children to follow in their footsteps of life.

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Siddhartha crushed his father’s dreams by ignoring his legacy as a Brahmin because he thought there was something more out there for him. By taking his own destiny into his hands and living life to the fullest, he hindered his father’s fulfillment of a good life. True love is a rare commodity and is not found by all. Siddhartha seemed to have found this in Kamala, but because he was so focused on himself he just used her for physical pleasure. Siddhartha’s worst abandonment, as he continued his search for a good life, is when he leaves his Kamala.

Although they were both using each other Siddhartha seemed to think that leaving her would help him achieve Nirvana. He not only broke her heart, but also unknowingly left her pregnant with their son. By leaving his Kamala, Siddhartha abandoned what could have been a key part of his good life: a loving relationship with his son. Studies show that children without their fathers are more likely to rebel and in essence not achieve the best good life because they are constantly in trouble.

That is exactly what happened to Siddhartha’s son. Once he found he had a son he did try to make up for it, but the damage was already done. From the beginning of time humans have been waging war against each other is attempts to reach the good life. Taking our quest to this extreme, to kill a fellow human being, seems a bit extreme. We justify our actions by saying it is a necessary evil, but when we really think about it we are taking away some else’s life, obviously taking away chances at achieving the good life.


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