Samir’s Selection 04/16/2014 (p.m.)
Happiness and Its Discontents
By DANIEL M. HAYBRONDescriptions of happiness: 1. Life satisfaction (doesn’t work well) 2. Feeling good / hedonism (doesn’t work well) 3. Emotional well-being … there is something specially human about happiness, something that speaks to our natures and needs as persons. And meeting our needs as persons – our spiritual needs, one might say – seems to have a special importance.Why should these needs, these aspects of ourselves, be so important? There is a long history of philosophical thought, with roots stretching back at least to Plato and Aristotle in Greece, and the Vedas in India, that conceives of human flourishing in terms of the fulfillment of the self. Human well-being, on this sort of view, means living in accordance with your nature, with who you are. On this way of thinking, we might regard happiness as a central part of self-fulfillment.Furthermore, our emotional conditions may provide the single best indicator of how, in general, our lives are going. They don’t simply track the moment-to-moment flow of events. If you are generally depressed, anxious or stressed, you will probably not find an answer to your problems by scrutinizing the day’s events one by one. It may be wiser, instead, to consider whether the way you are living really makes sense. Often, the signals of the emotional self can set us on the path to better ways of living – and a happiness worthy of the name.
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