By this stage of reflection, it seems that, for Aristotle, the value of our reflection on the best life is that it induces a kind of being-unto-death. It creates a fantasy of a release from the ordinary pressures of ethical life, a fantasy of sharing with the gods the greatest, stressless pleasure. This is a fantasy that carries within it an experience of lack, an experience of being at a distance from this wonderful goal. It is a fantasy of release which helps us organize and direct our ordinary practical lives. Those who know most about human life know that what is best is to organize life so as to escape its ordinary conditions – even the conditions of excellence within it. What is best about being human is the opportunity to break out of being human. Or: to be most human is to break out of the ordinary conditions of human life.
Jonathan Lear – Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life.