I believe there are two types of people in this world: Those who are happy. And those who genuinely believe that after purchasing a new luxury car they can “Be Happy.”. While the latter may find their new addition quite valuable, the former finds their self-fulfillment through a process of more sharpened quality. Those who choose to obtain the “good life” through the acquisition of goods and services are said to be misled regarding the true meaning of happiness. This false interpretation of self-satisfaction is what many of us strive for today. We want an immediate ‘feel good’ fix, which we often tend to pay for later. We use pleasure, wealth, and honor as a means to identify those who are the happiest (Stumpf and Feiser 84).
Greek Philosopher, Aristotle analyzed a fundamentally different nature of happiness. Every human action must have an end; an ultimate, self-sufficient end. He believed that happiness exclusively stands as the furthest end of all human action. This sort of happiness, however, differs from our perceived conception of happiness today. In this context, happiness is another word for good. True happiness is found within the soul by aiming to implement the most virtuous solution possible, in all situations (84). It will further be explained how this rendition of happiness is obtained and why it is the highest end that can be achieved through human action.
As humans, we have an innate desire for pleasure in all forms. Whether it is money, food, or sex, this Appetite is the largest and most irrational part of the soul. It will do anything and everything it can to get not only what it wants, but what it needs. It begins as an instrumental desire where we only want it for what it can bring us. However, it quickly becomes intrinsic in which we want it only for the sake of itself. This, in other words, is known as addiction. We need it; so much of it that if we don’t get it, things go wrong. Differing from this edacious part of the soul is our Spirit. It is the most volatile part of the soul. The Spirit is where one gets their love and need for honor and victory. It is the part that gets revved up and, at the drop of a hat, will change rapidly if conditions are conducive. However, like the Appetite, the Spirit needs some sort of outer guidance and direction in order to achieve its goals (Lorenz).
This conductor-like, third part of the soul is known as Reason. Its job is to determine what the prominent objective of the soul is and to guide, govern, and discipline everything else towards that goal. It asks the question, “How should I do that?” or “Should I stop that?” Just as the Appetite and Spirit have passion, Reason too has the ambition to fulfill its ardent desires. This indicates that all parts of the soul are passionate. And if someone happens to have soul whose pertinent passion is Right Reasoning, they are said to have virtue (Ross).
This idea is best illustrated in Plato’s Allegory o’ Chariot, which...