Aristotles Perception of Happiness

Common people and men of letters treat happiness as the process of living well or doing well. However, the meaning implied is different on the part of common people and philosophers. Men believe that virtues help to become happy, but not vice versa. Happiness is self-sufficient, but no human being is. Happiness is believed to be most desirable thing in the world. Happiness is self-sufficient, but makes the end of all that man does ...happiness...is a living well and doing well. Happiness...is at once the best and noblest and pleasantest thing in the world... 

Wisdom and Joy: Epicurus Vision of Happiness

Epicurus describes the state of happiness as the following: the absence of pain within the body, peaceful mind. The sources of happiness are: a sound, just, and enlightened rationality accompanied by inseparable virtues (epicurus.info, n.d.). According to Epicurus, the comfort of the body and the peace of mind are the chief good (epicrurs.info, n.d.). Happiness, according to Epicurus, is the release from troubles (epicurus.info, n.d.). Epicurus claims it is the ability of a man to foresee the future and recall the past. It may cause suffering, even greater than physical pain (epicurus.info, n.d.). According to Epicurus, a merry and cheerful man is a happy man.

The two extremes of the modern world: a) pessimism and negative perception of the world; b) positive thinking and optimism.

He who feels all the evils of civilization and the evil within a human soul would never feel happy. On the other hand, good temper, a sense of humor and positive reinforcement make the world a better place.

Applicability of Aristotles and Epicurus Theories Today

Due to differences between the theories of happiness by Aristotle and Epicurus, one may make a conclusion about their applicability and rightness in the modern world. Human nature has changed, not speaking of the environment. That is why I believe that neither Aristotles nor Epicurus theory is applicable today.

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Aristotles and Epicurus theories of happiness have much in common, but there are far more differences between them. Classical philosophy has made the ground for further investigation; today it gives the key to better understanding. What is the understanding of happiness today? There are as many opinions as there are people. However, all people agree that happiness is the state of harmony between physical condition and the inner world when nothing spoils and disturbs a person. It would be something very similar to the classical philosophers viewpoint if it were not for the material aspect of human life at our days. People lack strength to exit their comfort zone because at the same time people shrink into themselves. Pursued by the gloom of solitude one risks falling into depression. There are also those who either neglect social life or develop sociopathy.

Science claims that human is a social being, and I bethink another philosopher and genius Diogenes, a famous rhetorician, who at first had got into a barrel, then he lit a lantern in the daylight and moved to stroll about answering the questions of the people passing by I am searching for a [honest] man. Honesty is faithfulness and good conscience. Good conscience means happiness.

In conclusion, I would like to quote Peter Jacksons The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey:

...only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love.

Indeed, that is what happiness is: generousness, kindness, peaceful mind and love of life.

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