We all share in the desire to live a good life. We don’t all want to be saints or heroines, rich and powerful, or daring adventurers. We want a basic level of happiness for ourselves, our friends and our families. The world has provided us with infinite avenues to happiness. It also provides us with an equal number of disruptors and inhibitors to that happiness. We spend our lives trying to create conditions where openings for happiness are plentiful and disruptors are few. Yet for each of us those conditions are something different. Around the world, each culture has its own particular prescriptions and descriptions for a good life. Many of the beliefs that we carry and pass on through our cultures are wrong, but we need to believe something, so we try to create a good life, on good lies.
Between cultures and individuals reality is different. What is true for one person or group is not true for another, yet we live in a shared reality. We perceive a common experience, which involves vastly different interpretations of what is real, true and important. To create a good life, we try to rely on what we believe is true. We need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat. We need love. Then we have more beliefs, some of those beliefs may be true, some may be contextually true, some may be dead wrong. As we live with our beliefs, we create ideas of what more we need for the good life, and if our lives don’t measure up to what we think a good life should be, our happiness can be compromised.
Reality is as we perceive it, and not. If we want basic happiness for ourselves, our friends and our families, we have to work with what we perceive and what we believe. Some wrong beliefs help us feel good. Some wrong beliefs are terribly destructive. It is surprisingly difficult to tell which is which. To live the good life and find a basic level of happiness for ourselves, our friends and our families, we must try to create the best lie that we can. It should be built on whatever truth we can discern, and we need each other to figure out what is true to each of us. Then we do our best to make sure everybody has enough air, water, food and love so that we can work together toward creating that good life.