The good life. Once upon a time it was all about the fast car, the big house, the jet-set lifestyle. But as we come to terms with the effects of excessive consumption on our planet and our wellbeing, it’s clear that we need a new definition for what a good life could really mean. In the modern world, where can we find pleasure and meaning beyond the material objects we’ve been conditioned to crave?
British philosopher Kate Soper says we need an ‘alternate hedonism’. In her book ‘Post-Growth Living’, she argues that the future of human flourishing rests on our capacity to redefine what it means to live well. This isn’t a nostalgic return to a simpler life but rather, a forward-looking vision for the future.
Crucially, Soper says, we need to reconsider our ideas around prosperity and production. Instead of focusing on environmentally-damaging pursuits and business practices, we should put our energy towards ‘eco-benign’ activities that emphasise creativity and culture. Rather than aiming to amass more possessions and greater wealth, we might instead strive for a life that is abundant in time, care–and human connection. Through simplicity, slowing down, and downsizing, it’s entirely possible that we could all be rich.
To further explore this contemporary conundrum we travelled down to the epicentre of the ‘good life’ – Byron Bay, Australia – where the creative team from @StudioHumain made a short, inspiring film about breaking free, sprinting towards what really matters, and re-defining a more meaningful journey along the way.