The other day I was happy to talk to someone who is Greek-Portuguese and who understood the name of my company, Eudaimonia. We agreed that the best translation to English is "human flourishing" - although we didn't come to any conclusion about how to say it in Portuguese.
Eudaimonia was again in my conversation with Luís, who I hope is going to help me improve the design of my webpage. I was looking for images and metaphors for the design and sent him some info-bytes about Eudaimonia from wikipedia:
Eudaimonia is constituted, according to Aristotle, not by honor, or wealth, or power, but by rational activity in accordance with virtue over a complete life. Such activity manifests the virtues of character, including courage, honesty, pride, friendliness, and wittiness; the intellectual virtues, such as rationality in judgment; and non-sacrificial (i.e. mutually beneficial) friendships and scientific knowledge (knowledge of things that are fundamental and/or unchanging is the best)."
"Phronesis" the name of my blog - is the Greek name for the knowledge you need in order to achieve Eudaimonia)
Then, today, a friend (Filipa) sent me of a quotation by Goethe, which also captures an idea of human flourishing. I was reminded - again - of the greatness of some people (like Aristotle and Goethe) in whose discourse and designs we still live and (re)create meaning for our own lives. All the things we talk about now, from ethics to pattern theory to communities to colour and beyond, are revisiting and regenerating conversations they already had.
Anyway, here's Goethe's quote, which for me contains the essence of human flourishing:
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.
If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.
If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming."