Is Happiness Pursuable?
Happiness is a feeling every person tries to achieve, but by achieving it you have to pursue it. In the article “In Pursuit of Happiness” by Mark Kingwell he explains how a person can pursue happiness and goes into depth on the exploration of the idea of happiness, the ways in which that idea has changed over the course of history, and how it influences not only individual lives, but also economic and political thinking. This article explains very well how a person can feel happy, but also how a person achieves happiness. All his statements are supported by either a research done by a professor or a philosopher such as Plato.
Kingswell starts off by explaining the desire of understanding happiness, and how common it is to seek in our culture, people don’t always confront happiness even though it is implicit in our decision or end of human projects. He then says that everyone thinks that they understand happiness, but very few people manage to convince people that they are right. Then he says that we often demand a definition of happiness, but often all definitions are waved aside. He then says that the precise definitions can most likely be found in the dictionary which in the English Dictionary it says that happiness is the states if pleasure and content to mind, which results from the success of the attainment of what is considered good. He then quotes Samuel Johnson who defines happiness as felicity and felicity as happiness. Kingswell then goes on to say that the first thing we realize about happiness is that trying to provide one sentence definitions of it always ends up to be a mug-game. There are more questions than answers and we must accept that. Kingswell states that it is so difficult to say anything intelligent about happiness. Even though it is so clear on what it is yet so resistant to explications. He says that there is something implicit about happiness.He then goes on to support his statement by a twentieth-century essayist Eric Huffer who says that the search for happiness is one of the main sources for unhappiness. He then goes a bit more into depth of what Eric Huffner says, asking about happiness can only result in unhappiness or confusion. He says that the question what is happiness is a bad one logically il formed, misleading or maybe just pointless. Pursuing happiness can only bring vexation and misery, which is the opposite of what we desire. Kingswell then supports his statement by several studies that appeared in scientific journals done in 1996 which say that one’s achievable degree of happiness is genetically determined, we are either happy or we are not, there is nothing that is going to change that, we can try, but we can not overcome the fact that when it comes to happiness, biology is destiny. He ends is off by reflecting on the question of how one can pursue happiness, saying that it is both answerable and important, we can speak meaningfully about happiness, in short, and we can do so with intelligence and with reasonable prospect of results, not the results some people might want, but nonetheless results.
Kingwell’s does a unique job on the combination of cultural reportage, historical investigation, and philosophical reflection, he excavates layers of manipulation to seek out a happiness uncontaminated by technology, advertising, and popular culture. He also does a nice job on supporting his statements, he had about two different research studies and a couple of quotes from philosophers. But then again he does support his statement a little too much. Ultimately, Kingwell’s hope in writing this is not that the reader will achieve happiness through the book itself, but may find new ways to ask the questions that need asking for a person to achieve personal happiness. And in that light, though in a roundabout way, Kingwell does a creditable job in achieving his goal.
I think defining happiness is beyond philosophy. I believe happiness is something we can, and are getting a grasp of scientifically. I think science is starting to get a good grasp of what happiness is, or more precisely what causes happiness. We have determined that people feel ‘happy’ when certain chemical processes occur in our brain, just as we feel depressed, sad, surprised, and other emotions through a variety of chemical processes. But maybe the philosophical question in all of this is that, if you are always happy, and never experience sadness, fright, shock, depression or any number of other emotions, would you no longer be able to relate to happiness? Do we need sadness in our lives to be able to enjoy happiness and without sadness as a reference point, happiness is nothing special.
Overall, this article
Is Happiness Pursuable
Is Happiness Pursuable?