Prior to my commencement of the PHL unit, my understanding of happiness revolved around my religious perspective and personal experiences. I believed that in order to maximise my happiness, I needed to improve my relationship with god. My religious beliefs led me to the conclusion that happiness is not achieved by easy exercise, obedience, or other formal or legal dynamics. My religious beliefs describe happiness as a state that is achieved through understanding balance and achieving enlightenment. Happiness came from moments of personal experience that occurred at different stages and times in my life. Happiness is a mental state of pleasant emotions and personal fulfillment. To me, happiness is a goal that can be achieved through personal gratification by understanding balance and having a positive outlook on life. One’s personal outlook on life determines their experience of happiness, hence the way different experience unfold hindering one’s overall perception of happiness. Positive affirmations of experiences lead to happiness on the contrary negative affirmations lead to unhappiness. Personal fulfillment leads to the ultimate prolongation of happiness, temporary aspects such as fame or money provide short term happiness as they lack in the aspect of personal fulfillment. In my opinion I consider that happiness is also impacted by the people I surround myself with, being around my friends and family induces feelings of belonging which makes me content with myself and life.
Through the study of Aristotle’s views on happiness, Happiness can be deduced as the core of human existence, Eudemonia is the main goal of all our actions. Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics best outlines how to achieve the goal of happiness. Aristotle says that ‘Happiness depends on ourselves,’ by specifying how the sensation of happiness varies based on the development of one’s virtue ethics. The most significant factor In the effort to achieve happiness, Aristotle examines the need to have a good morality, What he calls ‘complete virtue,’ but being virtuous is not only a voluntary state: one has to act in accordance with virtue. It is not enough to have only just a few attributes ; rather, one must aim to obtain all of them. Aristotle separates virtue into two categories: intellectual virtues and moral virtues. Intellectual virtues encourage rational thinking, whereas moral virtues empower us to physically and mentally cope with our desires and emotions at a rational rate.
Aristotle distinguishes that our happiness can be determined by our good or bad fortune. The factor of virtue is a vital component in Aristotle’s theory of happiness. He advocated that the most significant factor in pursuing happiness is to have ‘ full virtue ‘ or, in other terms, good moral conduct. Human existence’s end and intent is based on obtaining inner happiness for a lifetime. Happiness is a virtue practice, it is an objective, not a perpetual condition. Happiness requires perfection of human behaviour and exercise of reason. Aristotle deems reflection as the highest fulfillment of happiness. Pleasure is comprehended to be the limitation of humans in Aristotle’s definition of contentment. The “good life’ we seek is not one that is defined by pleasures like sex and money. Everlasting happiness relies on the attainment of one’s virtuous nature, where one presents the virtues of bravery, kindness, and friendship throughout the duration of a person’s existence. Such virtues indicate a balance or ‘significance’ between a shortage and an availability. Happiness requires intellectual consideration and consideration of personal rational capacities. Aristotle concludes that Our purpose as human beings is to follow the virtues of understanding, strength and humility.
After analysing Aristotle’s views on happiness and comparing it to my previous views on happiness, I discovered an understanding into the similarity and differences I initially had regarding happiness. My understanding has been widened and I am now aware of the other factors that easily influence happiness and contribute to the final goal of life. Although some of Aristotle’s views aren’t similar to mine I am still open-minded to the influence of the factors that he listed as a medium for reaching happiness. It is interesting to see Aristotle’s relevance to today’s society even though his work was published many centuries ago, it demonstrates the recurring link in society of the need to acquire contentment as an end goal regardless of socioeconomic status.