My plan for this evening was to honor Lindsay Lohan’s innocence as a child by watching “The Parent Trap” while eating Oreos with peanut butter in memory of one of my favorite scenes. Do you remember it? Let me remind you. English Lindsay says, “Oreos! At home, I eat them with peanut butter.” American Lindsay says, “That is so weird, so do I!” It’s funny, though, because of course they would both like this. And of course they would both have a ripped photo half of their parents with them at camp. Regardless of my excitement for this scene and others, the video store did not own a copy of this classic children’s film, and I was also not in the mood to get an account elsewhere to locate it – providing another place had it. So here I am with a full bag of cookies and a new jar of peanut butter. I can’t even justify it by watching a different Lohan movie because I don’t own any. What is a girl to do, you ask? Eat the queer snack combination anyways, of course!
So now that I have started snacking, I can get on with my post for the evening. I have gotten a little further in Eat, Pray, Love and have become fascinated with the expression “Kalos Kai Agathos,” which in Greek means “beautiful and good.” From doing more research, it is said that to obtain this to a full extent, one must essentially be a certain type of person. According to Joseph S. Salemi at The Pennsylvania Review, the following would need to be true about you to truly live the concept of Kalos Kai Agathos:
“You are Greek. You are free. You are a non-worker (you don’t labor with your hands). You are affluent (you have enough money to be comfortably well off). You are healthy. You come from a respectable family. You are good-looking, well-groomed, and clean. You are intelligent and sensible. You can take part in an intellectual discussion. You are not a coward (you fight bravely in battle). You are a city-dweller. You have leisure time. You stick to the Golden Mean (you never take an extreme position, or act wildly). You honor the gods. You avoid hubris. You act honorably. You are a good citizen of your polis. You appreciate beautiful things. You are in the prime hebdomad (you are between the age of 21 and 28).”
While he admits that no person can be fully Kalos Kai Agathos, he says that it’s best to live by as much on the list as possible to achieve it. The expression can also mean “fine and noble,” “superior and excellent,” or “the best that a man (or woman) can be.” You can read more about Kalos Kai Agathos here. But to hear about my perspective and where I fit in with it all, read on.
I like this Greek road map to the ideal, to be perfectly honest – as I always feel I should be. Granted I can only vouch for half of those statements for myself, I think each one makes sense. Let me get some obvious ones out-of-the-way before more discussion. I am not Greek. I am a worker in the sense that I type all day (there’s the “with my hands” aspect of work). I would say that I come from a good family, despite the typical issues that we have along the way and our imperfections as humans. Being a college student, I would say that I am intelligent and can handle intelligent conversation. I am sensible. I am actually a coward in battle, in both a physical and verbal sense. I need to work on standing up for myself better than I am able to now. I stick to the Golden Mean (don’t act wildly). I avoid hubris, which is when one is out of touch with reality and overestimates one’s own competence or capabilities. I act honorably the majority of the time. I appreciate beautiful things. I am in the prime hebdomad, meaning I am between the ages of 21 and 28. With the easy stuff out-of-the-way, I feel it’s important to discuss the rest a bit more thoroughly.
In regards to being good-looking, well-groomed and clean, I understand that there is a debate on looks in the world today. I’m not saying that only the hottest bread around can play the game in my book, but I will say that people should be well-groomed and clean – especially when wanting to achieve the healthy aspect. I will also say that I believe every person in today’s world is good-looking in their own right. I know there are those hefty standards that we should all live up to in order to be perfect, but I also know that if we all achieve that then there would be a new standard out there to make us work for something even less ridiculous. And beyond that, I know that there is no such thing as perfect. To conclude, I will say that I am good-looking, well-groomed and clean. Sorry if I’m not good enough for the Greeks, but I’m good enough for me.
In regards to health, I am working on that at present. It’s a day-to-day struggle considering I was raised on fast food and was allowed to eat pretty much whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted, but I’m getting better with time. I know you’re thinking “but what about the Oreos?” Trust me, I haven’t purchased cookies in months. I don’t even shop in the inside aisles at the grocery store normally unless it’s for bread or the occasional Kraft dinner for those lazy nights when I don’t want to make something intense. I will write more about the healthy aspect at another time. It’s too large of a topic for me to write about it all now.
In regards to being a city-dweller and being a good citizen to my polis (city-state), it gets a bit tricky. While I would never rage against the man, as it were, I would not call myself a completely dedicated American. I love my city and my state, but I disagree with a lot of aspects in terms of government and people’s attitudes about life in general. I think the country has grown to be greedy, and we always need faster results and more of everything. I don’t think we were meant to live that way. But I do live in the cit. I’m going to leave this as a 50/50 for now. I might touch on this in a future post.
In regards to being free and having leisure time, I will rate this as another “up in the air” category. I am free in a sense that I am not enslaved. I can make choices. I can choose no to work or talk to people or eat or do the things that I do in my life. On the other hand, I need those things in life to have a place to live, be happy, and stay alive, depending on which one you’re looking at. As far as leisure time, it does exist. If it didn’t, you would not be reading this blog. Is my leisure abundant and accessible at any moment? No, not exactly. As I said, there is work to be done. I find it essential to wager between work and play in the world. I am in no position to leave my life here behind for adventure and dream seeking, but I am very well off in these regards.
In regards to being affluent, it depends on the true meaning of this. I survive based on my income, but I am at the same time supposed to be a non-worker to achieve Kalos Kai Agathos. I have to work full-time while attending school full-time in order to keep my apartment, car, food, and other means of existence that people have these days. I don’t suffer, but I can’t do anything I want either. I would say that I am comfortable, though, so we can call this another 50/50 and end it at that.
Last but not least, we have honoring the gods. This will be a future blog post in terms of my religious beliefs and why they are what they are. But to be frank, I fail in this department at present. I don’t honor any type of god, but at the same time I do want to believe in something; I’m just having trouble figure out what that something is. I want to keep this short so I don’t risk a long declaration of my religious/spiritual opinions. But I promise you will read more about this at a later date, possibly soon.
I think that is everything on this list as far as Mr. Salemi’s road map to Kalos Kai Agathos goes. I will touch more on some of these areas later on as they come to me. I don’t have a lot else to report for tonight. Tomorrow is Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthdays, so look forward to a Potter-based post tomorrow.
How close are you to achieving Kalos Kai Agathos?
Do you think Kalos Kai Agathos is something worth living by in life?