Goals of Life

by Peter Saint-Andre


There are many ways to categorize and divide up the various areas and activities of life. Here is a six-fold scheme I'm exploring:

  1. Health, diet, exercise, etc., focused on the goal of vitality
  2. Family, friendship, marriage, belonging, etc., focused on the goal of love
  3. Work, creating value, finance, security, etc., focused on the goal of achievement
  4. Creativity, art, appreciation, nature, etc., focused on the goal of beauty
  5. Inquiry, learning, understanding, spirituality, etc., focused on the goal of wisdom
  6. Self discipline, self mastery, self improvement, etc., focused on the goal of character

In this scheme, life consists of striving for vitality, love, achievement, beauty, wisdom, character. I understand all of these as stable states or ongoing activities, i.e., as ends in themselves. In turn, these goals are fulfilled through projects, relationships, and experiences. The hardest part, as always, is implementation: translating your goals into actionable plans and sustainable practices. Philosophy as a way of life is, then, a matter of making sense of life and guiding your plans and practices by that understanding. (Note: many people make a mess of at least one area of life!)

This is the merest sketch, and will need to be refined and revised based on evidence from psychology, philosophy, happiness studies, etc.


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