Choosing To Be Happy Essay

2087 words - 8 pages

“Choose to be happy.” This is what mom has always said, since a very young age and still to this day she tells everyone. For so long, it was just “mom talk”, those things your mother says that is supposed to make you stop and think. Yet, being too young, dumb and full of it, to really understand what she means. Curiosity emerges and suddenly there is a need to understand what it really means to be happy, what constitutes Happiness? So follow up with some research, entering the bookstore, gliding in and out of the rows and rows in the self-help sections are others, asking the same question. What is happiness? Where does it come from, are we born with it or do we make it happen? Happiness is but a belief, an idea, a theory; but theories, beliefs, and ideas have the possibility of being wrong. Can someone learn and choose to be happy? In this paradox it is hopeful to find some close truths about happiness and what is the need for this emotion. With our individual characteristics, patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting are we already born to be either happy or sad? What are the basic perspectives of the psychoanalytic and Humanistic nature for the people who make up this world who are always happy? Since the time of Aristotle his “telos”, or the end goal, was the same for all people, happiness. In Aristotle’s world, there are strongly knit groups where no strong distinction exists between public and private life. Everyone shares the same goals and values, so the pursuit of happiness is a cooperative initiative. That may have been the case back then, but in this day and time, not so much. Finding happiness and even defining happiness varies from person to person, between cultures and generations.
Why not start with one of the great theorist of all, Aristotle. Through reading of the great, Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, it is written: “Happiness, as we have said, requires completeness in virtue as well as a complete lifetime” (Ostwald, 1999, pp. Book 1, Ch 9). His concept is directed to an action, suggesting that there are choices with in each action and the end should be good. There are many “goods” to find in our lives, things which are intrinsically good and things which are good as being conductive to the intrinsically good. The collective good is derived through virtuous choices. Virtue, then, assists man in obtaining pleasure and is also a form of character not a talent or desire. Aristotle's view is that one cannot learn moral virtue; it is always both an external action and an internal characteristic. Since it must be internal as well as external, to be genuine virtues must be a matter of habit sustained over an entire lifetime. Virtuous choices lead to happiness, the "highest of all goods achievable by action" Aristotle (Ostwald, 1999, pp. Book 1, ch 4), Aristotle views happiness as the highest goal of life. So is he saying that we need to be good for our whole life before we can achieve happiness? Being morally virtuous is a way...

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