Arete: The Meaning of Life
Bheeni Jajodia, Class VIII F
Author: Bheeni Jajodia, Class VIII F
You must be cogitating what I mean by the word ‘arete’ when you read the title. How can you relate it with life? The answers to this question do not converge on a single point. Quite literally, it means a sharp mountain ridge. Well, taking it the other way, it means excellence or moral virtue. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not a mere act, but a habit. Let’s make it easy, pick a side – happiness or service?
‘At first, I thought that life was joy. Then I learned that life was duty. Finally, I acted and behold, duty was joy!’ says the bard of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore. Arete covers an idea that there is excellence in every step. Pursuing that transcendence, whether it creates ecstasy for yourself or service for others, should be your ultimate goal. I see both as being subsets of the larger domain of arete. The viewpoint here is that the ultimate meaning of life is the long-term pursuit of your dreams – bliss.
How can you coalesce the philosophy of arete with your daily life? Deep conversations, loyalty to friends, leaping forward in human thought, constituting hard-core relationships! Arete is a paradisaical algorithm for life and yet not perfect. After all, who would want a life where you are handed all the correct answers in advance? Wherevore, relish challenges!