Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Aristotle says happiness depends on ourselves (our choices) and that a genuinely happy life requires the fulfillment of a broad range of conditions, including physical as well as mental well-being. It is our ultimate goal or purpose as humans to achieve happiness. Yet Aristotle says this isn’t something that can be obtained or lost in a few hours (pleasurable sensations). From my understanding his view is that happiness is the end goal that we cannot reach that until we have fully lived our life and we obtain this goal of happiness by making choices throughout our life. The right choices to better ourselves and to make yourself a good person. Which should be somewhat a known standard. Health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. are virtues a person should display always throughout his or her life to obtain the end goal of happiness. With making these choices throughout our life we are “practicing”, getting better and better which is getting you closer and closer to the goal of happiness. For such a simple word many people can relate to so quickly and name something that makes them happy, it possesses a much deeper meaning according to Aristotle. I do agree with this and how he defines happiness as an end goal and that happiness is the perfection of human nature that we have to strive for if we want to reach true happiness. In today’s society we often confuse this meaning of happiness with temporary pleasure. Note also that it is not enough to think about doing the right thing, or even intend to do the right thing. We have to actually do it. Thus, it is one thing to think of writing the great American novel, another to actually write it. When we impose a form and order upon all those letters to actually produce a compelling story or essay, we are manifesting our rational potential, and the result of that is a sense of deep fulfillment. Or to take another example, when we exercise our citizenship by voting, we are manifesting our rational potential in yet another way, by taking responsibility for our community. There are ways in which we can exercise our latent virtue in this way, and it would seem that the fullest attainment of human happiness would be one which brought all these ways together in a comprehensive rational life-plan.
So happiness is goal and very possible to achieve. It isn’t easy and does take practice, but I believe if everyone was familiar with Aristotle’s work and took it in to account the world would truly be a better place. Although today’s society has replaced Aristotle’s definition of happiness with temporary pleasure. I believe it’s good and healthy to incorporate temporary pleasures within our life while obtaining happiness but don’t lose sight of the end goal. To be great at anything it takes time, practice, and the ability to make the right choices. Anything worth having is not easily achieved overnight and happiness is a perfect example of this.