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The Pillars

There exist three essentials to a good life: health, social interaction, and extensive freedom. Individually, each is important, but  alife of value, a life worth living, cannot exist without all three elements. Each element contains different sub-subject areas that must also be filled in order to give life value.

Health is the first issue. Health includes being well-nurtured and free from disease. It also invludes the need for shelter and comfort in daily life. Without health, one cannot enjoy life enough to experience happiness. Certainly, however, it is not absolute. Health is a gray-area subject. It is measured in degrees. Someone can have a cold and still be happy, however, someone who is weak and constantly nauseous cannot.

Another sub-category of health is ones mental health. Can an insane man be happy? Only through ignorance. An insane man does not understand thoroughly what is happening. His perceptions are skewed. He can be happy, but cannot lead a good life. So, a degree of mental and physical health is needed for a good life. The topic of happiness through ignorance is covered later on in the paper when discussing the pillar of extensive freedom.

The second of the important pillars for a good life is social interaction. One might argue that social interaction is contributory to mental health and should therefore be a sub category. However, it is so important, that it deserves to be recognized as its own pillar. Humans are social beings and in order to have a good life, they must interact with other humans. This means communication with others and developing relationships. Not only verbal social interaction, but also physical touch is needed. Anyone left completely alone for an great period of time cannot be leading a good life.

The third pillar is extensive freedom. This means people must not be shackled, they need the freedom to move and make independent decisions for themselves. One cannot lead a life of value while indentured to anyone or anything. Indenturing can come through the traditional idea of slavery or even through excessive obligation - obligation to a person, debts or responsibilties. Admittedly, some can help to cultivate a good life, but excessive obligation can be detrimental.

Someone obligated to work slave labor can't lead a fulfilling life. A person burdened with heavy financial debts who cannot pay them cannot be leading a good life either. However, a person with heavy finaicial debts who has the ability to pay them off is essentially free and living through choice and decision, not obligation, therefore they CAN lead a life of value.

Other obligations include obligation to family. A person who is unprepared or under-resourced who bears a child is not free and such an instance is detrimental to ones freedom. Through having a child, a new responisbilty is taken on, and further obligation is taken on to raise, nurture and provide for the child until it is self-sufficient. For someone who is prepared for such a responsibility, a child can be beneficial to the value of ones life. Rather than a burden, it is a beneficial social interaction that improves the state of ones life.

One must also feel secure in their person and property to be free. One who is in constant fear for his life or constantly guarding his property is not free. One must have a reasonable degree of security to have extensive freedom.

Freedom of thought is one other major sub-category. A man kept in complete ignorance of his world is not free. He must be able to think freely and he must have knowledge of his environment and world to be free. What is mean by 'knowledge of the world' is a reasonable degree/amount of information about what is possible, about what ones options and abilities are.

These are the three pillars: health, social interaction and freedom. These support what makes people happy, which is, according to Sigmund Freud, love and work. Having love and/or work without the three pillars will not bring a life of value. The three pillars, as discussed, are a requirement for a fullfilling life.

Things that devalue life are just the opposites of the three pillars. For health it would be sickness, disease or insanity. For social interaction it would be extensive reclusiveness or loneliness. For freedom it would be enslavement, ignorance or a lack of a reasonable degree of security.