Features & Images » Feature Story

Searching for The Good Life

Whistler's annual food and wine festival only part of the answer



I'll let you in on a little insider's secret — we know we have it good living here in Whistler.

This pleasure dome of fun, this place where people stop by momentarily to eke the most out of life before heading back home to reality, this is our little piece of heaven on earth, and we like to share.

We know people come here to feel good — to feel happy, replete and fulfilled — even if it's just for a quick long weekend getaway.

They come to celebrate Cornucopia, billed as a food and drink extravaganza. It sounds pretty close to living the good life; the detox and the diet can begin again on the way back down the highway.

They come for Crankworx, to race down the mountain on a bike; to take in the shows, to celebrate one of Whistler's favourite sports — the rat race is always waiting back home, after all.

Some even come to live like a rock star on the slopes and at the parties of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival — the celebration to mark the end of the snow season, over in the blink of an eye.

These are just a few of the pleasures in the hedonistic world of fun designed to tempt the mind and the senses, to feel good about yourself, to keep you coming back for more.

But is that really living the so-called good life, that life of fulfillment, that happy life?

Or is it all just an illusion?

"We have various ways we think we aim at happiness and various ways we grab hold of happiness at particular times," says Dr. Darcy Otto, a philosophy professor at Quest University in Squamish, who will offer up some context for this in a lecture at the Whistler library Nov. 13 titled: How to Lead a Good Life — Choices.

"You could live a life in which you pursue travel, or in which you pursue food or in which you pursue sport — these are all choices of lives. And so the question becomes: what is the criteria for the life that's most likely in the long term to make it fulfilled, and which of those lives line up with that?"

Tell me more!

Isn't that what everyone wants to know? Isn't that what Oprah tries to teach us, what the Bible tries to preach to us, what every lifestyle magazine puts on its cover?

There are lists of what makes us happy, golden rules to follow, happiness projects to tackle that vow to show us the way, all with the ultimate goal of helping us live a better life, a good life.

"I think it's one of the most fundamental questions we have as human beings," adds Otto.

"That is, we want to know what it would be to live a good life. If we knew the answer to that we could make a good deal of progress."