Living A Worthy Life
In “Vivere alla massima espressione” (Living to our fullest potential) Dario Bernazza provides a list of the major problems we have to solve in order to live a life “worthy of being lived”.
[Dario Bernazza, Vivere alla massima espressione, Editrice Partenone – Luciano Bernazza & C – Roma 1989]
It is the first of Bernazza’s books we stumbled upon and the reason we were first captured (and which kept us reading) was the fact that a similar list was handed over to us by our mentor since the first days of our encounter (above you can see The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David, 1787.)
Well, not that we think Bernazza is like Socrates. He though refers a lot to Socrates’ thought, plus certainly Magister, our mentor, was a bit like a Socrates to us.
When Suffering Exceeds Joy
If liabilities (sufferings) exceed the assets (every pleasant moment, satisfaction or success) our life is a failure (and it would be preferable not to have come into this world). If the contrary occurs, our life is happy and fruitful (or advantageous, as CP puts it).
Liabilities though are not avoidable and are inflicted on us without any mercy, while the assets are not given us as a gift, and we must earn them day by day, bit by bit.
By providing the best possible solution to the major problems of our life. This is our only way of diverting or softening our life liabilities.
The Happiness List
Let us then look at these major issues which, according to CP, we must necessarily address in the best possible way. They are 20. Yes, 20. Exactly. Bernazza is always a bit categorical. Here is the list.
1. Defining a purpose in life
2. Keeping ourselves in good health
3. Serenity of soul
8. Being reasonably well-off
9. Enjoyment, beauty and the exquisite
10. Loneliness, ennui and feeling of emptiness
11. Choice of studies, job, career
12. Choosing where to live
13. Our behaviour towards others
14. Embracing ‘good’ as an irreversible choice
15. Excess and vice
16. Being equipped with an adequate ethical instrumentation
17. Happiness is a long, sensible (and attainable) personal conquest
18. Will is power
19. Being convinced of the enormous power of honesty
20. The necessity of carefully planning our life
Since we cannot report on every single point of the list, only 2-3 points will be analysed (here and in future posts). As far as the rest, we will only touch upon the things that struck us most.
1. The Purpose of Life
Our life, like a long and complex journey, has to set its goal. So, which is this goal and how can we define it? The argumentation of CP is clear and simple (and probably naïve, but I cannot but feel some truth in it):
Since our life is the only chance of existing we have, after which we will disappear (CP is an agnostic who considers probable our annihilation after death), one should be really convinced that the most irreparable of errors is that of not trying our best to live to the highest possible degree. If our existence is nothing but a blink between two eternities (theories of modern physicists do not seem to interest CP) the purpose of life is necessarily that of living this sole life we have to our fullest potential.
Every single day must be lived to our best, and we must continuously improve this capacity of living to our fullest. This is why we should not ask ourselves – says CP – “why do I exist” (a question we can answer via the twisted efforts of our imagination only) but rather: “how do I exist?”.
The problem is that very few people know what is most convenient to us in our everyday choices, i.e. we do not know what actions shall bring us happiness or sorrow (this previous post discusses this point). If we knew – argues CP – the number of unhappy people around would be smaller. This is why learning how to solve the main problems of life (the list, again) will diminish our life’s liabilities and allow us to live in the best possible way.
The discussion on Bernazza’s list is continued here:
Health and Serenity of Soul
From Friendship to Asking Mamma when Looking for “Mr Right”
Assets and Liabilities in Life