The nearest equivalents are 'excellence' and 'virtue'.
Thinkers have struggled against this question for thousands of years. Instead there are many different methods to answer what might be the most important human question.
Not only would that be incredibly presumptuous of me, but I think it sort of misses the point. This answer to the meaning of life is simply: Arete is an ancient Greek word meaning excellence or virtue. The arete of something is the highest quality state it can reach.
Using arete as a principle for living life means that you are focused on the quality of everything you do and experience. Avoid actions that lack arete. Take actions that focus on arete. When most people think of virtue, they look at moral virtue.
But arete as a way of describing quality, touches on much more than that. I believe arete is a more comprehensive way of viewing life than the two main directions I see from popular Western philosophies. Not just the naive happiness of short-term pleasure, but the long-term, pursuit of your dreams, happiness.
From this viewpoint, your goal should be to maximize your long-term happiness by taking the best actions you feel will reach you there. Happiness can often twist on itself when you make it the goal of your actions. Getting the dream job, spouse or million dollars leaves you as unhappy as you were before.
Pursuing happiness completely may also feel somewhat shallow as if the entire point of your existence rests on a few neurotransmitters in your brain.
Then I learned that life was duty. Finally, I acted and, behold, duty was joy. This stream of thought usually focuses on helping other people as a means of achieving meaning in life.
Just with our first philosophical stream, the naive view points out that a life devoted to service misses out on happiness. But like the other philosophy, I feel this approach suffers from a weakness. The philosophy, if you look at it closely, tends to loop back on itself.
The meaning of your life comes from having a purpose. Therefore your purpose is to have a purpose. Arete, covers the idea that there is an excellence in everything. Pursuing that excellence, whether it creates happiness for yourself or service for others, should be your ultimate goal.
I see both happiness and service as being subsets of the larger domain of arete. Who decides what has quality? Pirsig believed that quality or arete was the underlying substance of the universe, from which both the subjective and objective are derived. Quality creates the mind and it creates the world.
On a more practical level, arete is a nifty word to have. It fits easily in the backpocket of your life philosophy and makes it easier to decide what you should focus on.
Instead of focusing on just your total happiness or your total service, you focus on the quality of whatever you do.Sep 25, · SigEp alumnus Zar Toolan, Columbia '01, and professor of theology and literature Dr.
Darren Middleton discuss the meaning of the ancient Greek concept of are. Arete went to Jason, another mythological hero, in the night and told him to marry Medea so her life would be spared.
Because of Arete, Medea and Jason were wed and Medea's life was spared. This lesson contains details about the Greek goddess Arete, including her history and her legacy.
Discover the way in which her name, Arete, is.
|Arete of Cyrene||Definition[ edit ] The Definitionsa dictionary of Greek philosophical terms attributed to Plato himself but believed by modern scholars to have been written by his immediate followers in the Academyprovides the following definition of the word eudaimonia:|
|Homer: The Noble Warrior||History[ edit ] The Ancient Greeks applied the term to anything: The meaning of the word changes depending on what it describes since everything has its own peculiar excellence; the arete of a man is different from the arete of a horse.|
|Eudaimonia - Wikipedia||But there is something more to arete which cannot be expressed in words. There is something of the Divine in it.|
Arete, to the ancient Greeks, was the key to fulfilling one’s life purpose. Interestingly, the words arete and the greek word for “knowledge” were used almost synonymously. If arete is knowledge, Greek philosophers concluded that the highest human knowledge is knowledge about oneself through stillness and contemplation.
Arete was the ancient Greek goddess or personified spirit (daimona) of virtue, excellence, goodness and valour.
She was depicted as a fair woman of high bearing, dressed in white. Arete's opposite number was the daimona Cacia, lady of vice. Henry Marrou describes arête as “the ideal value to which even life itself must be sacrificed.” Although Marrou considers ludicrous the translation of the word from ancient Greek to mean virtue Reading Plato’s dialogues is the best way to understand the moral ideal of arête.