Hmm... for me the question implies some of Descartes "dualism" i.e that there is some sort of "bad life".I remember a conversation between Hitch and Fry where they talked about tree-frogs not waking up thinking "Was i a good tree-frog yesterday?". So for me its just part the human condition as other animals don't appear to ask this question about their lives they just get on with it.And whose to say what's good or bad?
I don't look for a "good" life. I don't look for "happiness". I get involved in projects that I think are important. Frankly, I stay rather depressed seeing man's inhumanity to man and animal. I am physically active, do a lot of e-politics and am an animal-activist.
Life is full of its little pains and pleasures but if I can do these things on a regular bases my life is good:
Sleep a solid 6 hours strait, Wake up to morning sex, pinch off a clean turd, go on a long run, relax in the sauna, have a Fallbrook Omelet(Bacon, Cheese, and Avocado), fix something broken, or reengineer something flawed, have an intellectually stimulating conversation with family and or friends, read a great book, go on a bike run, listen to some great music, and get a little intoxicated.
I'm a HUGE Modest Mouse fan, what song is that from?
For me i think a good life is a fulfilling life, which differs from person to person. I think it is important to have day to day indulgences as well as regular activities that produce long term satisfaction. My work as a therapist brings me long term satisfaction in that i know that i help people. For short term indulgences, i read an hour everyday, cook my own meals (i am a huge foodie), fishing, home-brewing, sex, 7-8 hours sleep a night, and having an active project going (right now i am building a chicken coop).
Goodness without gods
To find western concepts of a good life totally untainted by xian thought, you have to go back to ancient Rome and Greece -- once custom (social mores) no longer function, questions arise about what sort of life can an individual live. Stoics, epicureans, cynics, skeptics -- are labels useful for doing searches.
Among moderns, who cannot escape being formed by a xian culture in decay, Nietzsche belongs to us more than ever. Following both the ancient epicureans and Nietzsche is the French philosopher and historian Michel Onfray. His Atheist Manifesto (2006) will repay reading. Unfortunately, his ‘counter-history of philosophy’ is not available in English. If you read French or Italian then do take a look at the four volumes available thus far.
• Here’s an idea of the basic views of Epicurus about how to achieve a good life:
Over 2,300 years ago Epicurus (340-270 BCE) devised a philosophy of nature based on atomism and a philosophy of life (an ethic) based on a rational pleasure principle.
Xianity has hated Epicurus ever since Paul (fl 50-60 CE) was laughed at when he tried to "convert" Stoic and Epicurean philosophers to his new god (Acts17:18 NIV). Whatever xians hate deserves a closer look as something likely to be good.
...live like a god among ordinary people. - Epicurus
Epicurus' philosophy drawn from his atomism and hedonism are distilled into four statements. Tetrapharmakos = 4-fold cure for anxiety: what's the best life to lead?; what about gods, suffering, death?
Don`t fear god,
Don`t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure. -- Philodemus (100 BCE)
Epicurus' own advice to a follower:
Think about these things...yourself, and with a companion like yourself, and you will never be disturbed while awake or asleep. But you will live like a god among ordinary people. For those who live among immortal blessings are not like mortal beings.
In my opinion, a "good" life is one that is endlessly creative. Without creativity, it seems to me that life is meaningless. That's why I'm sitting her commenting. I'm creating exposition regarding my opinion, and doing so in the most efficacious prose I can compose. It's a small thing, but it is creative and satisfying.
Being happy. Period.