What is Happiness? It could carry different meanings for different persons. For one person, achieving something could bring happiness. For another, it could be outperforming peers, because they might always want to compare themselves with others. Even if they achieve the goals, their might achievement feels hollow until they outclass their peers. Others could feel happy when others recognize them, hear them or admire them. Happiness is something that everyone wants to have.
It is hard to define happiness but most people believe that they know whether they are happy or not. Happiness is a state of mind and it is being satisfied with what you have. It does not matter how much you have. One may have a lot of wealth and resources and still be unhappy; on the other hand a person with meagre resources might be very happy. Most of us feel that they don’t have enough; but how much is enough. For most of us, enough is having a little more than what we have.
When we talk in terms of desires, the more desire a person has, the more restless and unhappy he/she becomes. Happiness means complete lack of restlessness. Real Happiness lies in absolute absence of desires. As a human being evolves, the meaning of happiness also changes. Highest level of happiness comes when a person starts living for others too. Happiness is lasting if it comes from within and not through events or things happening outside.
Aristotle believed that true happiness was to be found in the expression of virtue – i.e. in doing that which was worth doing. From described true happiness as deriving, not from momentary pleasure but from human growth. He attached greater value to pursuits that were of importance to humanity as a whole, rather than an individual’s own pleasure alone. This is a more holistic view, seeing the individual as part of a wider organism and defining happiness as that point at which your own fulfilment coincides with that of wider society. This is when you live in accordance with your “daimon” i.e. “true self”.
SOIL BLP Class of 2012
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