Yesterday I re-posted a blog which ended in a quote from the Dalai Lama: “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they got lost.”
That raised thoughts about the pursuit of happiness and whether such a seemingly hedonistic, self-indulgent goal is virtuous and whether it is compatible with a ‘good life’ in the religious sense.
Aristotle enshrines happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself. His conclusion is that happiness depends on the cultivation of virtue.
You have got to choose to be good to be happy and good is not that easy, sometimes.
- Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence
- Happiness is not pleasure, nor is it virtue. It is the exercise of virtue.
- Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one’s life. Hence it is a goal and not a temporary state.
- Happiness is the perfection of human nature. Since man is a rational animal, human happiness depends on the exercise of his reason.
- Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the virtues of courage, generosity, justice, friendship, and citizenship in one’s life. These virtues involve striking a balance or “mean” between an excess and a deficiency.
- Happiness requires intellectual contemplation, for this is the ultimate realization of our rational capacities.
In keeping with the Stephen Covey model, 7 habits of happy people are identified:
- Express your heart – People who have one or more close friendships are happier.
- Cultivate kindness – Reach out
- Keep moving and eat well – “sound body, sound mind”
- Find your flow – do what you’re doing because you like what you’re doing
- Discover Meaning – a close link exists between spiritual and religious practice and happiness
- Discover and use your strengths – the happiest people are those that have discovered their unique strengths and virtues and use those strengths and virtues for a purpose that is greater than their own personal goals
- Treasure gratitude, mindfulness, and hope – gratitude is one of the greatest virtues. It defeats pride which is the sneakiest of vices.
Most of the above comes from http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org
This website has wonderful and good stuff on positive psychology and the pursuit of happiness. Check it out and start looking for your own stairways, y’all.