The purpose of our lives is the Glory of God as we had seen in the previous insight. However, from the point of view of how we live our lives here on earth, our more immediate goal is to live a life of excellence.
So what is a life of excellence? Are we talking about the ultimate stoic individual wedded to duty for duty's sake unmoved by feelings? Are we talking about the detached person with no ambition in this life living a life centered on himself? Most of us are repelled by these extremes. Excellence is not found here. These extremes are the fruit of an un-balanced living of the dominant functions of our personality types. (More on the dominant functions) Rather, excellence is the pursuit of a balance between rival values according to the circumstances of the moment.
Hence, it is easy to find people who embrace a specific value to the point of annulling the rival value. At times, for example, some people in the western hemisphere embrace an individualistic culture which allows outstanding individuals to mobilize vast resources to produce wealth. Taken to the extreme, this culture leads some people to the point of celebrating greed. On the other hand, other cultures tend to embrace the rival value of communitarianism which is good in creating esprit de corps. Taken to the extreme, it leads groups to the point of producing a sloth-like consensus. Neither of these extremes is desirable. A life of excellence seeks to balance these rival values into a good synthesis. (More on this balance from Aristotle). This life would bring about a well balanced personality, a truly generous, charitable person.
This life of excellence is not the fruit of human effort alone. It is the result of God's work in our innermost being. It is the result of grace as it takes root in our souls and develops to its full potential. This is what we will be exploring through these weekly insights.
How do I define excellence?
What are the values that I desire the most?
How does my culture, my personality, my history shape my values?