The Good Life Of Cicero And Lucretius

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The Nature of the Good Happy Life October 24, 2001 Philosophy 285 Looking around my world, I see many things that are beautiful to the eye. For instance, mountains, seas, and flowers evoke an emotional response in me, and one emotion in particular: happiness. The key to happiness is to treasure the people and things around you as much as your heart and soul will allow. From these treasured objects, you will find great pleasure and love and that is essential for true happiness. There are evils in the world, but God has provided these evils in order to emphasize all of the good that exists, and thus we appreciate it more. The evil also serves to make us stronger individuals. God, in His wisdom, would not challenge us with anything at us that we could not handle.

Through a reading of two books whose subjects focus on the nature of happiness, my attention has been brought to two radically different interpretations of what constitutes the happy life.

The first book is, "On the Nature of Things,"� written by Lucretius. Lucretius' theory of happiness concludes that one can be led to the happy life by letting one's desires lead them toward moderate pleasure. In contrast, the second book, "On the Good Life,"� is written by Cicero. Cicero's theory of happiness concludes that total self-control of passions and desires must be maintained at all times. And that one's own moral virtue is the only way humans can attain what he terms "supreme happiness."� It is apparent that these two theories directly oppose one another. This opposition may have its basis in the two completely different worlds that Lucretius and Cicero were living in while they studied Philosophy and created these theories on happiness. The political and religious structures of...