Lives with no context
by Ken Myers
“Those among our contemporaries who think that flourishing consists in experiential satisfaction tend not to ask about how this notion of flourishing fits with the character of the world and of human beings. The reason is not simply that, for the most part, they are ordinary people, rather than philosophers (like Seneca or Nietzsche) or great religious thinkers (like Augustine, Ghazzali, or Maimonides). After all, over the centuries and up to the present, many ordinary people have cared about aligning their lives with the character of the world and of ultimate reality. No, the primary reasons have to do with the nature of the contemporary account of flourishing and the general cultural milieu prevalent in today’s Western world. . . .
“[M]any today would not care whether they live with or against the grain of reality. They want what they want, and that they want it is a sufficient justification for wanting it. Arguments about how their desires fit with the more encompassing account of reality—how they relate to ‘human nature,’ for instance—are simply beside the point.”
—from Miroslav Volf, “Human Flourishing,” in Renewing the Evangelical Mission, edited by Richard Lints (Eerdmans, 2013)