Thank you @wbowen for this age old and interesting conversation starter. If this is a core of the philosophical mindscape then it surely deserves to be addressed literally.
Aristotle believed that the highest human good was eudaimonia, roughly the state of human flourishing. We do this by cultivating the characteristic that distinguishes what it means to be human from other living and nonliving entities: reason. Just as the unqiue function of a knitting needle is to knit, and the unique function of a shoe is to support the foot, our unique function is to reason. If we can properly develop what makes us us, then we can live flourishing lives.
Aristotle developed an entire ethical theory designed to help us reason through what we ought to do to live a flourishing life which he called Virtue Ethics. The basic idea is that when contemplating how we ought to be or act, to ask ourselves what the virtuous person would do; that is, someone who embodies the virtues: kindness, wisdom, generosity, intelligence, etc. If are virtuous in accordance with reason then we can flourish.
It’s a very different approach to philosophy and moral thinking than modern Western philosophical thought.
There’s a question I always ask of people I see doing nothing with their lives.
“Are you Truly Living, or just Existing?”