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good sense of holistic well-being
march 7, 2010


“good sense” vs. good sense of lifeworldliness

Life. World. One lives in “the” world; one has a world in one’s life—one’s world in our world, one’s life of life. I don’t seek to be expository in the following. This is highly individuated (before focusing on individuation as such).

“Good sense” normally serves a status quo. One is prudent relative to a given situation in a scene, at a site. The scene of a site can be validly taken for granted, and “good sense” belongs to the situation of the unquestioned site.

But ‘good’ commonly pertains to something being better—better for, better than—such that proffering good sense might fruitfully be understood as proffering appreciation of the best available sense of a situation. A presumably-given sense of prudence may be inappropriate (i.e., some consideration of appropriateness—some sense of appropriateness—trumps “prudence”). Maybe what’s prudential is to question the given sense of a site’s calling for good sense. Taking “the” site for granted could be invalid.

Relative to some high aspiration, good sense might be, relatively speaking, quite eccentric. (Once upon a time, being adamently vegetarian was eccentric. Include fish, though.) What’s good for a truly-flourishing life may be quite alien to many persons.

I’m going to advocate a rich sense of Good (“the” Good, despite rejecting the legacy of this), way down the road, such that, for now, good sense pertains to one’s near view of a long-viewing holism in a well-flowing life. Though good sense is largely situational, it’s deservedly relative to the long view of a life, a telic gravity of well-growing life.

mind-body healthfulness as exemplary good sense

Mental health, physical health—“mind” (?) and body—is that an artificial difference? We are embodied minds, enactive bodies, too often tragically pretending that one’s general health (embodiment) respects the preferences to which one is so mentally endeared, as if virtual reality constitutes biology.

How about a discussion of psychophysiological coherence? psychoneuroimmunology? Lessons in stress reduction for heart health? Good diet, enough exercise. Good diet, enough exercise. Good diet, enough exercise.

After a heart attack, it’s the world that’s changed?

I’m aware enough of how much knowledge is easily available about the intimacy of mental and physical healthfulness that I feel there’s no point in me elaborating this mode of what good sense really involves. (Ask your family doctor for good books and online resources about fidelity to healthy living—and then, just do it.) Appreciation of healthy living is readily available to anyone who would keep up with mainstream health news and show reasonable fidelity to the intrinsic value of healthfulness.

What does it take to knock good sense into implicitly suicidal living? Listen, I know about people’s difficulties with decision-making (committing) and adherence (fidelity) and time management. I’m burned out on tolerant pleasantries toward living in denial. Anymore, when I see an obese person smoking a cigarette, I might think of the Darwin Awards: “honoring those who contribute to the gene pool by leaving it.” You presume I lack compassion? Look, I adamently support right of access to excellent health care services paid without bias toward pre-existing conditions. The addicted, still-walking outcomes of bad culture, callous marketing, and cognitive-behavioral underdevelopment are not to blame for chronic conditions. But they are responsible for desiring change in accord with available services (including overworked caregivers devoted to motivating change). They’ll eventually want every available expense of “veterinary” medicine devoted to saving their animality from the mindless judgment of eonic nature, like children in fantasy and “adults” expecting that “God” decides. Then it’s back to guilty pleasures.

“Oh, grow up!,” I want to say to their face (like Joan Rivers). But I don’t. I don’t lack empathy and compassion for others’ implicit need for, in effect, reparenting. I bear a surreality of quotidian politeness toward the tragedy of vain pretense, toward the sad integrity of one’s individualist right to whistle past the grave, all chatty and hungry for novelty.

Life is strange, then you die. See, the real health crisis in developed countries is developmental (which becomes psychiatric) and political economic, firstly as failures of professional education, secondly as avaricious marketing’s confidence games (insufficiently regulated) toward naïve consumers, and thirdly as marginalization of behavioral medicine by health care providers.

One doesn’t have to be brilliant to live brightly. Moderate individuation in a fair market can do wonders for preventive health. You, odd enough to have read this far, likely don’t need an exposition on prudence. Good sense can be intuitively evident (though how so may be a developmentally-elusive matter of how very good ontogeny goes).

Give me long years of brain health thanks to long years of good diet and plenty of fun exercise, thriving for lucid learning and bright creativity (way beyond moderate individuation, as you’ll see).

care: an exemplary value of very good sense

A “realism” of good sense (taken to be ordinary prudence) can be bridged by idealism of selfidentity in individuation. An idealism of indivduation I want to advance includes fidelity to bridging itself with ordinary prudence. The best sense of life, to my mind, orients itself in light of authentic value, i.e., in light of fidelity to selfidentical value, or ownmost value.

We appreciators of things are also the creators of value, as well as the caretakers of what may last. We are a species of imaginaries and designers, the only gods there are, affirming and creating what deserves to last: partnerships and community, meaning and fruitfulness, etc. We give empathy and altruism to admirable character. We make love have many facets.

And we make ethical life capable of a high register: a calling to heal, a love of humanity. As I wrote earlier:

...the more one knows oneself truly the more that one appreciates one’s belonging as integral condition for one’s individuated freedom, having belonged in order to benefit from aspiring for further belonging. An inspiration of moral imagination about the humanity of one’s belonging is self-esteeming, even when unknown to others who would admire this. One’s ownmost humanity informs the inspiration (and post facto admiration just adds to what you are).

Such expansiveness only exemplifies the scale of value we all know belongs to a “best” sense of life, though we likely don’t keep anything like this near to mind (let alone my compressed idiom). But we know that fidelity to such nearness—or a fidelity to retrieving something like this, a nearing which is part of the cycle of days—really matters. Such a sense of individuation is an appealing ideal.

Individuation is necessarily very individual for a particular life. But one can appreciate a deeply shared value of genuinely bridging (a) a well-grounded or centered outerliveliness, proffered as ordinary prudence, and (b) idealizing innerworldliness—altogether an integrating lifeworldliness of caring for one’s humanity (one’s own as already always ours and conversely), body and soul, as they say, which deserves to be found (or made) intrinsic to any long (or high) view of good sense.

holism: fitting lifeworldliness

Holism is not best understood as a disposition or understanding; rather as a way of orienting action. Caring integration of outer and inner lifeworldliness, situation and aspiration, near term and high view is done, but never completely. Yet, sustained attentiveness (living brightly) and long-term fidelity to the value of holistic care—call it fidelity to conscience?—may result in (or award) very stable intuition to one’s spontaneity and flexibility of interaction (depending on the quality of one’s individual development, which I’ll return to).

A good order of one’s life—to one’s life, in one’s life—is the complement to sustained attentiveness in growing to have reliable intuition. But a creatively good order of life (or well-ordered life) can’t be strictly well-structured. Rather, there’s fidelity to good form when that’s called for (ordinary prudence) and variety of formativity when that’s felicitous (individuational idealism). This is especially important for educive work: teaching, counseling, or mentoring (and for teaching creativity, which can be done). There’s never complete success in working holistically, yet there is a great appeal of perfectibility that’s generative, leading at best, for my life, to satisfaction enough in my own activity (I hope).

good sense as felicitous enjoyment of one’s ownmost lifeworldliness

Days go by....Life goes on, whatever. We wake to what’s given, enact the day, and hope its fulfilling enough. We want givenness to be as real as we need and enactivity as ideally fulfilling as feasible.

I live to play, in a sense, while working to good ends, so it’s important that I continue to go my own way in the “conceptuality...” project, standing for a sense of authentic prudence (fidelity to my own individuation, whether or not I prove a good example), get the playground cultivated, then move on.

I’m doing well, thank you. I wish for more memorable enjoyment, but one can’t have everything. “Enjoyment” is a keyword of our lives, such that it’s very useful to delve into what we mean, what we want it to mean, and what it may best be proffered to mean. (No wonder, then, that John Kekes does so.) Pure self-interest says that the near-term horizon of one’s life deserves as much memorable enjoyment as possible. As much enjoyment as is feasible is integral to a high quality of life—along with living in good health, having ample self-efficacy, persisting in curiosity, standing for reasonability and holism, and loving truth—all virtues, perhaps. It just makes good sense that life should be prevalently enjoyable—that traversing the lifespan should generally be a joy. It’s feasible. But one’s degree of virtue in that is for others to assess.

Next: individuation in the conceptuality of a good life
living well




  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis