What is Happiness Definition Essay
According to Bertrand Russell, happy life can be followed in the state of mind, not the actions of a person. Russell states, that there are differences in his attitude towards life and the attitude of the traditional moralists, which consider happiness to be in self-denial of a person, and love to be unselfish (Russell 998). I agree that a person cannot be happy while he or she does not preserve the harmony with himself/herself and the surrounding environment. Thereby, we should be happy ourselves and make other people happy. Without following the either of these ways, but both of them, we will flow into the common stream of life and become happy. Russell states, that all sorts of unhappiness depend on different kinds of disintegration in a person, while happiness is a union between the person’s state of mind and his/her interrelation with the environment and society (Russell 998). McMahon, in his article In Pursuit of Unhappiness, says: “unless a person is aimed at making others happy, he or she will not be happy” (McMahon 992).
Differences in Opinions about Happiness
However, some people see happiness in the other key. They aim at career, image, money, forgetting about the spiritual values. Although, they have nothing to be blamed for as people always want more than they have, but the real art is to appreciate what one has for the current moment. Happiness cannot come out of the material satisfaction of the desires (The Dalai Lama and Cutler 1000).
It is not correct to discuss the moral term of happiness in the context of the laws as in Lewis’ article We Have No Right to Happiness. Despite the statement of the right to pursue happiness in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the thorough examination of the term “personal right for happiness” as an implementation of some law seems ridiculous. I could never consider the high, abstract concept of happiness in this key, though Lewis’ article brings interesting and innovative opinion (Lewis 1003).
An Example of Happiness
Returning back to the Russell’s definition of happiness, I have a few examples on happy and unhappy people around me, which can serve better understanding of the concept. The example of happy people connected to themselves and to the society is in people I see every day. My parents represent the simple concept of happiness as both internal and external harmony. The contentment and appreciation of the life they live is the key point in their happiness. Besides bringing up children and keeping house in order, my mother has many activities helping her avoid the daily routine which influences the majority of the housewives. She is a member of a literature group and usually arranges their meetings in our house. She is a great cook and often indulges us with new tasty exotic dishes. In addition, she is a well-groomed lady, goes in for sports, and it is a pleasure for her to make us proud of her good shape. My mother is a caring woman, a person that never rejects to help one solve a difficult problem. She says that sharing feelings and emotions makes people feel satisfied and calm, and this is the purpose of being and making people happy. My father, in his turn, has a decent and interesting job that he likes, and that helps him to provide for his family. In such a long period of marriage, they remain so loving and affectionate to each other, that it is my duty to wish everybody would be so happy. They know how to entertain themselves without wasting money and how to create comfortable conditions for their family and guests.
Examples of Unhappiness
One of my good friends always has thought that all the problems and troubles happening to her are the result of her own mistakes. Being too absorbed in her own problems and completely immersed in self-analysis, she cannot be integrated with the society, with the people around, even the close ones. My friend does not understand or does not want to believe the fact that the source of the problems is not in her herself but in her disintegration with the world. She is desperately trying to find out the decision, recollecting the latest events in search for the mistake she might have recently made. However, being occupied with these concerns, she cannot enjoy daily life and remains unhappy. No matter how hard her close people try to help her, the only thing they do is helping in search for the mistakes, not seeing the root of the problem. The things which might have helped: communication with friends and other methods of distraction seem unsatisfying and inappropriate to her. Unfortunately, we cannot explain her how distant she is becoming as it is too difficult to reach out to a closed person.
Another example of an unhappy person is a girl I know, though she is not my close friend. She is an example of a lucky person, who has a successful career and a good-looking partner and seems to be the embodiment of a perfect life, always looking happy and smiling to everybody. This girl can afford a lot, and it is completely her own merit, as she has been working hard since a very young age. She is a real soul of the party, bringing excitement and positive emotions to people around. However, the attentive person would notice sadness in her eyes. When she becomes thoughtful for a moment, her face expression extremely changes. I know none of her friends who seemed to be worried about this peculiarity. However, when I asked one of them what is happening to her, he answered, that the difficult times she had experienced in her past imprinted the deep sadness inside her. Although, according to the girl’s friends, she does not want to discuss any problems, I consider it selfish for the close people to ignore the internal division in a person so dear to them. Thereby, having a life full of friends and success cannot make a person totally happy and save him/her from being disintegrated with himself/herself.
Adding to the example of my parents as happy people, who seem to be integrated with themselves and with the society, I can definitely say that I feel happy too. Although, I do not have everything I want to have, or just cannot afford it, it does not add any weigh to my self-determination. It does not make me feel deprived of something, but makes me appreciate everything I have. I was brought up by loving and caring people, who have always helped me in difficult situations and have been interested in the state of my affairs, in the goals I set. It is difficult to express how happy and thankful I am for having them. We live in hard times, when the environment and the people around have a great influence on a personal identity formation, and in case the foundation laid in a child by parents is weak, he or she would possibly take this world in a wrong way, from the words and actions a child sees around, which are not always right ones. I feel harmony in me and enjoy the world. I like sharing emotions with close people and they love me back. If this is what makes up happiness, then I am definitely happy.
Lewis, Clive S. “We Have No Right to Happiness.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. 9th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 1003-07. Print.
McMahon, Darrin M. “In Pursuit of Unhappiness.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. 9th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 992-94. Print.
Russell, Bertrand. “The Happy Life.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. 9th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 998-99. Print.
The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. “Inner Contentment.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. 9th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 1000-02. Print.