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Happiness - Essay Example

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These were declared to be unrelated to true happiness (Schervish and Whitaker 16). In his monumental Nicomachean Ethics, he pointed out that the majority of the people believed true happiness to be derived from material things. Nevertheless, people express dissatisfaction with fleeting pleasure and Aristotle rightly points out the futility of expecting honor, possessions and pleasures to provide true happiness. The latter is based on a principle that these cannot create. (Schervish and Whitaker 16). There is some ambiguity associated with the term happiness, which has come to denote an emotion that is the opposite of sadness. Happiness, per se, lacks permanency and determining whether a person is happy is the province of the person experiencing that emotion. Moreover, the attitude of a person towards this emotion determines whether that person is happy or not. Furthermore, the same stimulus or events may fail to produce happiness in an individual, on each and every occasion. Such is the subjective nature of this emotion (Miller).Thus, happiness is chiefly psychological. On the other hand there are some scholars, who believe that happiness is not merely a subjective phenomenon. It is their contention that happiness is the outcome of enjoying a trouble free life. This state of being has been held to be continuous by these scholars. As the underlying elements of such happiness are general in nature, there is no subjectivity involved(Miller). Consequently, any individual under the same circumstances as a happy person should also be happy. Aristotle was of the firm conviction that happiness was understood differently by the elite of society and the common man. Nevertheless, within a specific class of society, there was consensus regarding what constituted happiness. Thus, it was presumed that the proletariat would equate happiness with some obvious condition like pleasure, wealth or honor. On the other hand, the elite could be expected to relate happiness to critical reflection and excellence (Miller). With regard to happiness being the result of the possession of money and health, the elite would attach minimal importance. Ancient ethics promoted the idea that the manner in which people derived satisfaction in their life was the subject matter of ethics. Thus, the good life had to perforce dwell upon issues, such as the manner of life that a person wanted to lead, performing acts that would promote the good of others, and actions that would benefit the individual (White 3). Aristotle had been seized with engendering an environment, wherein good human functioning and prosperity could develop a pace. He was of the opinion that the utmost happiness was to be aimed for, both at the individual as well as the societal level. Physical existence and moral and intellectual qualities were the distinguishing features of a life that was prosperous and good(Ormeci). The human soul, according to Aristotle, is very precious. As a result, it is of far greater importance to fulfill moral qualities, in comparison to other elements. He firmly believed that the best possible life that a man could lead was one whose virtue was adequately supported by material resources (Ormeci).These resources were to promote participation in acts that would uphold virtue.Aristotle was an advocate of the notion that happines ...Show more
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[Name of the Student] [Name of the Professor] [Name of the Course] [Date] Happiness Happiness, according to Aristotle is the outcome of human activity, and the happy man is seen to be at his best in work, activity and liveliness. Happiness, in his opinion, was the ultimate goal of life and of leading a virtuous life…
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