A Good Life in Contemporary Communication
The image of a good life is an abstract notion, which is addressed in the modern culture through concrete actions and possession of certain material objects. Moreover, it often involves the discussion of the concept of happiness as well as other features important for people disregarding their race, gender or age. It is evident that the modern world has a peculiar accent on consumerism, constant media connections, and globalization. In some way, these characteristics influence the vision of a good life making this concept more material because of its links with material objects and their possession. One may explore this vision through the analysis of opportunities and challenges pursuing a good life of a modern person. This aspect involves the investigation completed through the frameworks of consumerism, the use of technology, and civic engagement. These characteristics serve as basic communicators of thoughts and reflections about a good life and its traits. Each of them may serve both as an opportunity and challenge because of the way people use it. Therefore, this paper brings the analysis of the described characteristics presenting their investigation and evaluation. Moreover, it gives personal reflections regarding my image of living a “good life” along the three selected dimensions. People have to balance between the use and abuse of consumerism, technology and civic engagement in order to preserve positive evaluation of their and surrounding lives. This balance implies that living a good live is possible despite various negative tendencies of the contemporary world.
A Good Life and Features of Happiness
People often connect a vision of good life with the concept of happiness, which raises the need for its discussion. People tend to define happiness in different ways, which tells about their individuality as well as characterizes their life priorities overall. Less experienced people tend to connect happiness with the possession of physical objects such as phones, cars, computers and other. At the same time, more experienced individuals tend to characterize happiness as an inner state, which may be caused by various actions and leads to positive self-evaluation. The range of actions may be extremely wide since each person feels happy because of different things. That is why someone may feel happy after winning a football match whereas the others feel much the same when seeing their parents after a long departure.
Another important aspect is the need for ethical regulation of the notion of happiness. The need for this is defined with deviant feelings of happiness, which are associated with such conduct as rape or murder. The individuals, which express such types of maliciously good life, should be either put in a medical facility or imprisoned because they bring harm to society. Likewise, the ethical side of this issue defines that one’s happiness should have certain borders in order not to interfere the private space of other people. That is why people should be ethical to feel happy and cause no danger to the society.
Furthermore, one should note that scholars characterize happiness more as an experience rather than a definition. For instance, McGill argues that happiness is “a lasting state of affairs in which the most favorable ratio of satisfied desires to desires is realized.” Such definition is caused by the fact that people have different ideas of happiness, which leads to discordant definitions. In this sense, people think differently both about the final state of happiness and means used to get there. Therefore, happiness is a subjective feeling, which is disconnected from any external criteria. Moreover, happiness can mostly be associated with fleeting moments, when a person feels elevated and experiences extreme pleasure. This aspect is caused by human psychology because a person cannot be always happy or dissatisfied. Consequently, a good life is addressed through frequent feelings of happiness, which characterize certain moments in life. Thus, there is a need for the analysis of the influence of modern technologies on this feeling affecting the “goodness” of one’s life.
A Good Life in a Modern World
The features of the modern world, such as consumerism, globalization and increasing degree of electronic communication, may drastically affect the image of a good life. Thus, consumerism transforms the abstractness of the notion of happiness into a material object binding the feeling with its possession. The reason for this is that sale and advertisement practitioners abuse their knowledge of human psychology in order to raise profits. Thus, a consumer culture, which organizes the norms of individual consumption, creates brands, which afterward transformed into concepts of happiness, For instance, if a person has an iPhone or Ferrari, he or she should have a feeling of enormous happiness, as one can see in advertisements. As a result, people focus on one material object substituting the inner feeling of being mutually happy with the fact of possession of a certain object. No wonder that the feeling of happiness quickly vanishes away as soon as its consumer gets accustomed to it. Moreover, consumer culture tends to stimulate dissatisfaction because brands require constant sales. Thus, a person is quickly dissatisfied with one’s iPhone 5, which was seen as an image of happiness, as soon as the brand new iPhone 6 comes out. Therefore, people gradually get attracted to things and addicted to consumerism because it feeds their constant craving for small portions of happiness.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that modern social networks and constant connection deteriorate one’s feeling of happiness. People get attached to a virtual world, which was created artificially, and tend to search for joyful news there. However, the constant flow of senseless information along with the constant connection drains them emotionally and increases life dissatisfaction. Scholars claim that the average American spends 8-12 hours per day looking at a screen and dedicating over 30% of leisure time to internet use. Thus, people’s time gets stolen by non-productive activities and useless expectations instead of living an actual life. Moreover, constant focus on positive images and messages turns out to be a bad substitute for face-to-face meetings and conversations. That is one more reason for the existence people, who have a fear of missing out, which is an anxiety producing a sense of missing an opportunity for social interaction. However, some individuals try to resist this willing to disconnect from digital devices, as well as the emotional pleasure gained from doing so. This measure has only one disadvantage, which is the loss of profit in case one’s business is involved to social networking. One the contrary, rejection of constant connection brings more sense to one’s life raising the abilities for enjoying the life as is.
Moreover, it is evident that modern community has no awareness of the ethics of civic engagement. This means that people are too much focused on individual problems failing to recognize the problems of the others. At the same time, people have a hug number of opportunities for self-realization, which start from helping each other and those who suffer. Thus, people need to increase their political knowledge and erudition in order to explore various aspects of the surrounding world. This means that they should switch from the problems of feeling sad to the problems of worldwide communities, which have significantly worse characteristics. Thus, a person would feel happy in case it refuses from consumerism and social network abuse and helps other people with real life problems.
Summarizing the paper, I come to a conclusion that people have to treat modern tendencies of consumerism, globalization and constant social connection with accuracy. The reason for this is that they substitute one’s feeling of happiness as well as undermine inner psychological resources. That is why my good life requires a rational use of social media as well as regulation of the feeling of buying anything, which relates to the attraction of a brand. I understand that happiness cannot be material, which is why I have to devote some time to learn to reach it on the basis of inner resources. This means that people have to stop distracting themselves with senseless activities and needless things. Instead, they have to devote more time to actual communication and real-life values, such as family, friendship and useful hobbies. Moreover, the increased political awareness and erudition would result in their civic participation in the movements aimed for creating better lives for people, who suffer.