This chapter was interesting in reading about the various schools of thought (cynicism, epicureanism, and stoicism) and how different strokes for different folks occur through time, maturity, experience and interpretations, which has always been the case and always will be, I suppose.
For myself, once I came to the crossroad of seriously questioning the possibility of the standard "God" theory and all the baggage that goes with it, I floundered a bit (still am!) as to what direction to go instead. It seems necessary to have a direction.
Science is comforting in that the gaining of knowledge is rational and necessary. To be able to argue one's point and succeed in doing so with facts and figures over fuzzy, feel-good reasoning is certainly satisfying (never forgetting, of course, Socrates' point that we know NOTHING - kind of like Sergeant Schultz).
But, science alone might be a cold and sterile place, eh? Maybe we DO need some warm, fuzzy, "just because" reasons now and then.... The Epicurean view that death is nothing - "only a return to the cosmos from whence we came" is somewhat comforting to me because this shows our existence is a continuous process with a purpose - "recycling". However, I sometimes wonder about the day when on my deathbed, I won't be calling out for "God" because of fear, pain, and going it alone. In my job (nurse), I've seen the fear on dying faces many times. Until we're in the midst of experiencing it ourselves, who knows how each of us will react?
I believe we're all rather anal in our beliefs, holding on to them because we're habitual, fearful, pattern-seeking beings by nature - anything that shakes our own little space is evil and dangerous. Is it so bad that each of us seeks comfort and answers in a personal way? If it's not the same as Mr. Jones' reasoning and beliefs, so what? Unfortunately, that seems to be the way things are. "If you're not one of us, there's something wrong with you." Fortunately, those who are brave enough to break the mold bring about necessary change.
Reality is different for each of us, of course, and trying to rein in and impose a central reality for everyone to follow is certainly doublethink/ thoughtpolice strategy to me, but to function as a whole society, some sort of consensus must exist. How far do we go in imposing a standardized reality on the whole of society? How much rhetoric do we swallow in the reasoning of selecting one party over the other because they're the lesser of the two evils? What a choice! Battling it out as we have historically done through the political process probably irons things out in the long run, but a more severe segregation of thought seems to be occurring. And, I suppose this idea has existed for anyone in their particular time period they were/are living in - we're not unique in this regard - and I guess we have to ask ourselves are we worse off than 100 years, 1000 years or more ago? This is relative, of course, since none of us were living back then. Our short lifetimes don't even scratch the surface of overall time.
Defining "good" for our fellow man and society as a whole is far more exacting and difficult than expected, I think.