Paradoxically, then, the best life to live will be one that is constantly struggling to become a different sort of life, a life with more virtue and less enjoyment, with more to admire and less to envy. If that best of lives were to succeed in becoming what it strives to change itself into, however, it would not longer be the best of lives. It would then be a life purely of self-sacrifice, an unenviable life suitable only for admiration. So what life should we seek, then? If what we are asking is either what kind of life to seek in order to gain a purely enviable life, or what kind of life to seek in order to achieve a purely admirable life, for those questions, the answer is fairly easy. Only a life with both elements resonates with a full portion of good. And that life, I think we have to recognize, will also be a life in which the two types of good remain in tension; a life in which the enviable and the admirable are never quite reconciled.
There is not even one single thing we value when we restrict the question to ethical values. Instead, there is a plurality of different things we value, but in ethics and in life in general. In life we value pleasure, human interaction, achievement and contact with reality. In ethics we value human flourishing but also commitment and justice per se… No single set of rules seems adequate to the irreducible plurality of incommensurable things that we value.