A Good Life Does Not Have to Be Complex

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A good life is defined differently for everyone. Our parents, friends, and the media all comprise a vision that we see as the best way of experiencing our lives. This is different for every person, because nobody follows the exact same path in life, and events influencing someone’s existence are what eventually set the course for one‘s perception of a good, fulfilling, purposeful life. In the cases of some, a good life does not have to be complex. A modest life is often more fulfilling as a busy, complicated lifestyle. Although I don’t necessarily agree that my life would be better if it were suddenly made much simpler, there are people in the world who believe that the best thing one could ask for is simplicity.

Taoists are a wonderful example of people who prefer a less-complex life in favour of a simplistic one. Taoism, a Chinese philosophy we learn about and touch upon in the story “Substance, Shadow, and Spirit”. Substance represents the body, shadow represents fame, and spirit is self explanatory. In the story we learn that someone who chooses to stress substance in their life would spend much of their time gathering material possessions. Their priority in life would be trying to preserve it through building monuments that last beyond their own life span. Someone who chooses to emphasize shadow doesn’t care much about their life being preserved through time. They know eventually it will all slip away and focus on doing things that other people will praise. One who lives by the spirit does not concern themselves with noble deeds. They seem more interested in self-fulfillment as opposed to what others think about them. When you eliminate certain superficial factors that our society puts too much emphasis on, life gets a whole lot simpler.

Buddhists are another great example. Choosing to eliminate the need for desires through self-discipline is what it emphasizes. Desires such as material possessions are not nearly as important to a Buddhist living in...
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