By Ekpali Saint
When Sartre, a philosopher, averred that “everything has been figured out, except how to live”, he never minced words, but rather stated the obvious. Nevertheless, to perfectly ascertain what it means to live a good life, three fundamental questions have to be answered and reflected upon – What is good life? What are the paradigms of a good life? What constitutes good life? A good life is that which revolves around moral virtue, geared towards maintaining the sanctity of humanity and steadfastly performing civic duties.
Living a good life is synonymous with goodness, which undisputedly, is the essence of life. This is even underscored in the concept of a good man in Hausa cosmology – Mutumin Kirki. In the Hausa culture, this concept depicts an ideal of goodness that is expected to be practiced and projected by the Hausas. This view according to Kirk-Greene brings to fore one basic thing that “the Hausa thought pattern and worldview about the world, humanity and life revolves around moral virtue”.
Notably, man was created by a being that is goodness himself, thereby transferring that goodness to man for man to be a reflection of the same goodness. Therefore, these premises presented a simple way of living characterized by good deeds, which can be examined by others before the kind of life lived can be deciphered. Little wonder why the view from Socrates (as imagined by Plato), who, while on trial for corrupting the youth, tells his inquisitors, “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Hence, living a good life entails a sincere reflection of goodness that will draw humanity to the true essence of living, which is to be good always.
In like manners, the existence of beings is not meant to be hidden but widely known to people to behold and be transformed instantly, whether positively or negatively. As against this backdrop, living good life would mean detaching oneself from the environment which is already damped and radiating virtues that will affect others positively.
More so, this world has been overshadowed by contradictions, where the reason for one’s creation has become the opposite of his existence, because love formed the reason why man was created and logically, it is expected he toe this path. The act of love shown to others is what makes life beautiful regardless of the continual catastrophe that compliment one’s existence.
It is also important to note that living a good life does not mean a life free from reproach or a life without disappointment from those whom one is trying to assist. But both good deeds and the calumny or hatred suffered constitutes a good life. Therefore, to live a good life means accepting the two sides of life/humans – good and bad.
Kirk-Green HM (1994). Mutumin Kirk, the concept of the good man in Hausa. Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana, p. 32