Das vollkommene Leben
Since the dawn of mankind, people have argued about what is the right and proper path to the perfect life. But is there such a thing as a universally applicable set of rules? Philosopher Michael Hampe has undertaken an intellectual experiment to explore this issue. In four essays, each taking its cue from a different tradition, he develops theories as to how the objective of a perfectly fulfilled life might be achieved: solely by the exercise of rationality; through immersion in spirituality; through a sceptical detachment from the world; or via faith in a harmonious relationship between the corporeal and the non-corporeal worlds. In truth, none of these approaches in isolation will provide the answer in our search for unadulterated bliss, but it is at the points where these perspectives conflict that we get a glimpse of what happiness might really be about – perhaps it can be found in an attitude to life that has cast off the shackles of indoctrination and is therefore at liberty to contemplate the world from an unblinkered perspective.
But without the tangible evidence of human experience such speculations remain pure theory, and Hampe has embedded his essays in a narrative framework to best reflect his philosophical ruminations. In this way, he has successfully produced a powerfully written tour de force of empirical philosophy, both a work of illuminating clarity and a great read.