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Happiness can be achieved by anyone through improvement of character, meditation, and increasing generosity and kindness - Essay Example

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Happiness can be achieved by anyone through improvement of character, meditation, and increasing generosity and kindness

True happiness is beyond meaning and description. In his article “Happy Like God,” Critchley emphasizes the idea of happiness as something that even the French philosopher Rousseau could hardly define. This is because the beauty of the moment of happiness is something that is only likened to “a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there” (Critchley 449). This is actually a time where “the present runs on indefinitely” and where the past and the future do not matter yet it is something that no one can define as just the present (449). It is therefore true that “happiness is not quantitative or measurable and it is not the object of any science, old or new” (450). This means that, for Critchley, happiness is something that can never be gauged for not only does happiness depend on the person who is feeling it but also it depends on the value of the present moment and how each person defines that moment for him. The experience and the feeling one has naturally cannot be quantified and cannot even be expressed in words. Nevertheless, it is closest to the term “feeling of existence,” or the time when someone feels the moment that he exists and he experiences such happiness (450). Moreover, although unquantifiable, this moment of happiness is very much sufficient. In fact, Rousseau defines such a state of happiness as a God-like state: “as long as this state lasts we are self sufficient like God” (450). This is therefore the highest state of things, or the state where one does not want anything else but to be in such a feeling or such a state. Nevertheless, happiness in any form defies measurement. Happiness is also an experience of appreciation and reflection of things and people in one’s life. While Critchley and Rousseau would equate this appreciation and reflection with being alone in the experience of stillness, there were once people like the Greek philosopher Epictetus, who thought that happiness is also one’s experience of stillness but this stillness is wisdom, and such wisdom is not about being alone but being aware of how to deal with others. For Epictetus, the lack of wisdom and reason makes one either a sheep or a wild beast, which is what most people are. A sheep will naturally simply “act gluttonously…lewdly…rashly, filthily [and] inconsiderately,” while a wild beast would normally act “harmfully, passionately [and] violently” (Epictetus). The wisdom that Epictetus means must be similar to the wisdom that Rousseau realized when he thought of a God-like state of existence, only that Epictetus’ wisdom is directed towards one’s fellowman. Moreover, according to Epictetus, if people lack wisdom, they tend to worry about and change things that are beyond their control, such as “What would others think?” or “What would others say if I did this?” and they then cease being happy. They do not anymore experience that blissful God-like state that Rousseau described earlier. The point of Epictetus is that no matter how intelligent or good someone is, if he does not possess wisdom, he will always be swayed by other people’s influence as well as by his opinions of the things over which he has no control. Therefore, if one lacks wisdom, one lacks contentment and happiness, and ...Show more

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(Name) (Professor) (Subject) (Date) Happiness through Improvement of Character, Meditation and Increasing Generosity and Kindness There must be at least one reason why he is happy, but no matter what that reason is, what is important is that one knows happiness itself…
Author : dorianrosenbaum
Happiness can be achieved by anyone through improvement of character, meditation, and increasing generosity and kindness essay example
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