Dr. Tom Hurka, Jackman Distinguished Professor of Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto, was the guest speaker at the fourth Wednesday Forum held on February 26th. His topic was What makes a good life? During his stimulating talk, he examined philosophical questions drawn from both world history and our own lives. Socrates believed that knowledge made for a good life while Plato and Aristotle upheld moral values, believing that virtue was good and vice was objectionable. They believed that the journey was more important than the destination. Today, we admire successful people who reach their goals.
How do you define happiness? Does it bring a positive tone to life’s simple pleasures or can we experience it more intensely with ecstasy. Conversely, can pain bring euphoria, in your body and in your mind, or can it put you in a bad mood? Does one thing reflect the other? We know that good or bad moods extend into other aspects of our day. If the Raptors won the game, we are elated and carry that pleasurable feeling with us throughout the day. Is short intense pleasure better than very long calm pleasure? Is meeting in Knox College a Christian pleasure?
Is there more to life than feeling good? Is feeling compassion better than feeling indifference? Do aggressors like the pain they cause? What can be seen as happiness is relative. As we age our taste buds get weaker and we need more spicy sauces for eating pleasure. There can be contentment in old age, even with pain, because there are different kinds of pleasure. A life partner can give you a sense of security, as can friends and other personal relationships. We are most likely to be virtuous, benevolent and compassionate towards loved ones and friends.
Older people can lead an intellectual life of achievement in one specific area or in diverse areas involving preferred talents and tastes. We hope that we are living a happy and satisfying human life in our senior age group.
We enjoyed yet another thought provoking forum. Thank you, Talks Committee
By Roving Reporter Janet Broadley