"Happiness... is just a tear drop away..." As I'm sure you all know this rather humourous paradox is the catch prase of the ever benevolent Fairy Godmother in the fairytale movie of Shrek.
But besides the humour in the statement, there exists a far deeper meaning. Joseph Butler, a bishop of the church of England, devised a theory in which he states that "happiness occurs as a by product for the satisfaction or desires for things other than happiness itself." In other words, those who aim directly at happiness will not find it, while those who have thier goals elsewhere are more likely to achieve it. He even went so far as to say that "when we sit down on a cool hour we can justify this nor any other pursuit, untill we are convinced that it will be for our happiness... or at least not contrary to it." But what is this concept happiness?
According to the Aristotelian Corpus, or to be more specific Aristotal's "Nicomachean Ethics" he examines the various types of good, and arrives at the highest form of good resulting in "Happiness." After careful deliberation of this difficult subject, Aristotal arrives at a definition of happiness as "Activity of the soul on accordance with virtue."
Jeremy Bethan, who was less a philosopher than a critic of law, derived a theory in which he states that man is completely selfish and that all things he accomplishes is for his own "Happiness" or benefit. Do you believe this? Even the theory that he is famous for : "The Greatest happiness of the greatest number" has no definiate meaning and Jeremy often thought of Happiness as pleasure in the absense of pain. But still the ever elusive concept remains.
And happiness brings up the question of joy, and contentment. The "Complete English Dictionary" (Published by Penguin Books) defines joy as the
"desire or will to live with the best of life" while contentment is defined as "happiness with ones situation in life." But still, whether you live in this world (Thats just a snide jab to some of you )or you lived long ago, happiness plauges everyone equally.
So, can anyone tell, me what they think happiness is and why?