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The Good Life

Creating a meaningful life

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Kurt Bell

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First Edition

Copyright © 2019 by Kurt Bell

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For Joe Bob and Eric
Who lived well

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Sunset tonight in Siberia.
The wind and the stars.

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Sections:

  • The Problem of Nihilism

  • Objectives

    1. Be Always Ready to Die

    2. Make Good Use of Time and Resources

    3. Develop and Maintain Good and Sound Life Principals

    4. Cultivate Good Emotional Reactions

    5. Perform Good Actions

    6. Recognize True Limits and Opportunity

    7. One Thing Slowly

  • Principles

    1. Principle of War

    2. Principle of Reason

    3. The Homunculus

    4. The Home of Good and Evil

    5. The Principle of Purpose

    6. The Atomic Principle

    7. The Principle of Nature

    8. The Principle of Maturity

    9. The Social Principle

    10. Public Speaking

    11. The Feast of Offal

    12. Temperance

    13. Agency and The Great Indifference

    14. The Best Seat in the House

    15. The Path of Wildness

    16. The Risk of Avoiding Risk

    17. Sin and Damnation

    18. Complete Oblivion

    19. The Great Life Adventure

    20. The Season of Philosophy

    21. Arena and Utility

  • Today's Thought and Action Plan

  • Epilogue

  • In that sense the universe cares

  • Recommended Reading

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THE PROBLEM OF NIHILISM

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     There’s no good news in nature. The universe seems incapable of care, or of opinion, or of preference regarding right or wrong, good or bad, or what constitutes a just and virtuous society or life. The universe’s first opinion on these matters is evident in the dead, bleak environment of space and time; the restless progress of all order in the direction of entropy, and the cold indifference of matter and energy everywhere - where the curious phenomenon of life appears like some strange, exotic exception to a rule of inorganic truth. So, what do we do with this fact? How do we prevent a slide into nihilism? How do we keep our upright posture while our legs buckle and give way as our mind struggles to accept a reality the facts cannot seemingly deny?

     I object! There is meaning! There is law! There is authority! We hear this claim everywhere where the problem has been encountered and answered with a knee-jerk proclamation of truth. But test these claims and I suspect you’ll find them lacking. Lacking in substance which can be weighed, lacking in texture we can feel, lacking in color we might perceive and readily verify as red, blue, green or yellow, one to another, seeking confirmation and assent that what we see and describe is true. Try that with these ready claims to deity, and dogma, and tradition, and authority, and you’ll soon be referenced to faith, or the wise sermon of Pastor Brown, or the leather-bound canonical of Our Blessed Tradition. These proofs will not do for the man or woman, or child, of reason—for children too can hold the universe to account—who respond “foul” and leave the practitioner of superstition to their spells, charms, incantations and supplicant propitiation to a father or mother they cannot do without.

     Our hero walks alone then away from the crowd, who boo and hiss and yell from the crowd threats of hell, damnation and ostracization. The crowd moves close to seal the gap and hole left by the skeptic’s departure. One less to their number. A greater threat to an immortality than they might ever perceive.

     What then for the skeptic, who has perhaps lost his place, his people and his certitude? What now while he or she walks alone under the discomforting arch of a heaven with no god; across an Earth which holds no demons, and along a life which offers nothing but emptiness when our days are done. How then to counter Nihilism? How then to thwart despair? Wouldn’t anyone give up now? Why live if life has no deep meaning. Why struggle when no heavenly and eternal reward awaits, and no praise is forthcoming for our acts, or our goodness, or our virtue. Why be good, or try, or live even, when there is no scale upon which to measure our worth, or tally the result of a lifetime of goodness.

     This book is my answer to the problem of a universe without God. A catalog of objectives and principals to form meaning and direction where all signs point to death and oblivion. A recipe for optimism and purpose where these things cannot find easy footing in a universe that does not care. I’ve been running this experiment for two years, since mid-2016, and the results have been good, very good. I’m now ready to share this plan with others, in the hope I might dissuade some from giving up at witness of the true indifference of nature, of perhaps checking out forever as a last response to the seeming futility of life without inherent purpose. I hope you will grant me the space of a few more pages to get started, not to suck you in to my dogma, but to share and beg your critical evaluation of my objectives and principals, to determine if they be true, or sound, and if not, then to ask you to please chuck my book into the trash, or the fire, or the recycling bin. Yet if these words make sense to you – really make sense, as in fitting well with the reality you know, and the facts of the universe you’ve come to know, then maybe grant me a few more pages, again with a critic’s eye, and perhaps a few more, until you’ve had enough.

Kurt Bell – 2018

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ABOUT

Going Alone was begun by Kurt Bell in an effort to help others understand and manage  the recognition of the apparent indifference of the universe to our well being, happiness or even our existence, and to find ways to make a good life in spite of this fact.

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