nor something you have to
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is not the purpose of life!
You can certainly find a large
number of proposed "definition of happiness" throughout human history. Often and
commonly considered a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment,
satisfaction, pleasure or joy with a variety of philosophical, religious,
psychological, spiritual and biological approaches to identify its source.
Here are some examples of what
others have said about what is happiness:
"Happiness is man's
greatest aim in life. Tranquility and rationality are the cornerstones of
"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of
human existence." - Aristotle
is the supreme part of happiness." - Sophocles
"Happiness is mostly a by-product of doing what makes us feel fulfilled." -
Dr. Benjamin Spock
is generally described as a sense of well-being or satisfaction with your
- Modern Psychologists
believed that man is doomed to chronic unhappiness.
Theodor Adorno believed that happiness is a
mere temporary mental escape from misery.
(Poor Freud and Adorno!)
Many consider that happiness cannot
be defined; therefore, all talk about happiness is mere rhetoric, it can not
be measured and that lasting happiness is not possible.
Since the word "happiness" has many
different meaning and these meaning are often mixed up, the concept has a
reputation of being elusive and is mainly associated with "quality of life"
or "well-being." In this meaning, it denotes that life is good, but does not
specify what is good about life.
see what a definition really is, and how we could precisely define
definition is a statement expressing, describing, explaining, or making
definite and clear the essential nature of something.
A definition of happiness
should, therefore, explain and make clear what the
of happiness is.
None of the above examples
really describes the inherent qualities or basic constitution of that something
we call happiness. What is happiness then? The aim of life? The purpose of life?
Tranquility? Wisdom? A by-product of doing something? Well-being? All of them?
In order to reach a more
precise definition of happiness we have to establish something first:
Axiom: a proposition which doesn't need to be proved or demonstrated but
considered to be a self-evident true that serves as a starting point from
which other statements are logically or naturally derived. An axiom cannot
be derived by principles or deductions, nor are demonstrable by mathematical
means, simply because they are starting points; there is nothing else from
which they logically follow. (e.g. "The whole is greater than the parts")
An axiom, or a self-evident
assumption, is commonly used in all branches of science as "fundamental truths"
from which other things are derived and understood.
Happiness, axiomatically speaking, IS
an emotion. Which is a self-evident truth for all of us. Being happy is to
"feel a very pleasurable and characteristic emotion."
We can all agree, axiomatically
and by our own experience, that happiness is a conscious subjective experience
of an "emotion" which produces certain mental and physiological sensations of
"feeling good" to an individual.
not just a change of words. To
understand what the essential nature of happiness is we
must understand what the essential nature of emotion is.
Just like to understand what "color" is we have to
understand what "light" is.
A change of words is to say
happiness is contentment, satisfaction, pleasure or joy - for ALL of them are
some type of emotion.
There are many types of
emotions, each producing certain mental and physiological sensations or
"feeling" to an individual.
Other emotions, besides
happiness and many more, are: Fear, Apathy, Grief, Sadness, Boredom, Enthusiasm,
Exhilaration, Joy, etc, etc.
What is then the difference
between, for example, fear emotion and sadness emotion? Or between
enthusiasm and apathy?
Or between the emotion of
happiness and all other emotions? What is happiness that other emotions are
not? - What is the true definition of happiness?
key to understand happiness resides in understanding what emotion is.
There is no other way.
This is a very good thing,
because we will not only understand what happiness is but also what fear is or,
what apathy or boredom is, and so on.
To know the essential nature of
happiness - to completely define it - we need to study the essential nature of