A Powerful and Practical Philosophy for Better Everything

There was a man who lived about 2400 years ago whose ideas changed the world. A philosophy that was powerful and practical. A young Alexander the Great, his pupil, took these ideas and conquered the world with them. 


His name was Aristotle. A Greek. 


Some ideas from his best works, The Nichomachean Ethics:


1. Everything has a function. A knife cuts. A key opens a lock. Food nourishes. A human being’s function is to think and philosophise (this is often disputed). 


2. Arete, translated as ‘excellence’ or ‘virtue’, is achieved when that function is fulfilled to full potential. A knife with Arete cuts sharp and clean. A key with Arete opens the lock without friction. A human being with Arete lives by philosophy. 

3. Achieving Arete is the primary way toward Eudaemonia, which means ‘happiness’, ‘blessedness’ or ‘flourishing’. Eudaemonia is necessary for a full and happy life. 


A question relevant for our purposes: how would this man have invested in real estate? 

The answer would seem apparent. He would cultivate the Arete of the property. 

To do this, we first need to ask “What is the function of the property?” 


The answer will depend. Some properties serve as a place of business. Some are to live in. Some support agriculture. In each case, Aristotle would ask “Is this property achieving Arete? Is the highest and best use of this property being realised? 

If it is not, then he would take the actions to realise this potential. He would develop it. It could be as simple as making the property a better home for a family by making it brighter, cleaner and safer. If it is an unused commercial building, it could be turned into multiple homes for local families, or vice versa. 

[A common mistake, especially for the artistically inclined, is to think that refurbing or redeveloping property is all about making it ‘look nicer’. This is only part of the picture. Aesthetics are important insofar as it contributes to the overall function and usefulness of the property to the end user. For example, an overly ‘beautified’ storage facility could actually decrease the Arete of the property because it would be more awkward to use]


A property without Arete: 

A property with Arete (visualised): 

Source: Redtree Ventures

After all, Arete is something that needs to be developed and cultivated.

The knife needs to be sharpened.

The key must be cut.

The philosopher must undergo strenuous study. 

The property must be developed.


Live with Arete, 

Sam Lee  

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