Hello and welcome to Seeking the Good Life, a new newsletter exploring all things relating to living a better life. The “Good Life” is an idea designed by humans to identify the best way to live our lives. However, few of us ever feel that we succeed in that quest. The good life is something that we continually strive for throughout our lives, but it is mostly out of reach. Why is that? What makes it so difficult for us to live a good life?

In the weeks and months to follow I hope to cover subjects such as philosophy, religion, and politics, and how ideas about the good life are described in these disciplines. My reason for doing so is both personal and academic; I want to understand what living a good life might mean for me, personally, but also what we, as humans, have argued a good life is. That will touch on the ideas of Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes, amongst many other thinkers. It will delve into movements such as minimalism and permaculture, as examples of ‘good life’ frameworks. It will explore our current world and ask a simple question: how can we live a good life in a time of climate change and ecological decline?

This is where I try to differ from general discussions about the good life. I want to situate it in the here and now. I’m interested in what Aristotle had to say (and those who have since studied his words), but Aristotle lived thousands of years ago. His context is not our context. This is just as true of all thinkers who have discussed the question of a good life. It is not enough to repeat their words. We must reinterpret them to fit our times and needs. In our case, how can we live a good life, when the systems that govern our lives are demonstratively harmful? This is the key question that I wish to unpack and investigate.

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Philosophy, Permaculture, and a better life in times of ecological and climate decline


Matt Phillpott

Freelance educator, writer, and historian with interests in the history of beekeeping and thoughts about how we learn and how we teach.