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Plato's View On Happiness And The Pursuit Of Happiness

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Happiness, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. If you ask anyone, what is their ultimate goal in life; the majority may say it is to find happiness. This may appear to be simple enough, yet it seems to be quite complex and elusive to most. This pursuit is seldom, if ever, achieved in one’s lifetime. While it is difficult to answer the question as to whether it is selfish to pursue happiness for oneself, it would be practical to say that it is not. The definition of happiness varies from person to person. While some people are contented with the simplest things in life like loving and being loved in returned, going for a stroll on the beach, reading a good book, watching their favourite movie or having a personal relationship with…show more content…
Socrates’ views were that in order for humans to be happy, they had to seek it out for themselves. He further theorized that material things did not necessarily lead to happiness, but by following the right path or demonstrating both moral and ethical principles would happiness be found. He felt that since it was within our power to think rationally, then we were ultimately the authors of our own happiness. Following on Socrates’s premise on happiness, was his student Plato, who advanced the theory that reasoning or thought processes, was the most important element of achieving a happy state. Aristotle, Plato’s student, shared an opposing view to both Socrates and Plato in this regard. He theorized that observation was instrumental in understanding how anything functioned. He further stated that the wellbeing and happiness of individuals, was impacted by material possessions, the environment and physical appearance. Despite his opposing ideas on happiness, Aristotle shared Plato’s view that the use of reasoning to understand our environment, was instrumental in leading a productive and happy life. (Burton,…show more content…
The answer is no. The pursuit of happiness would benefit of those around us and may be considered as a selfless, rather than a selfish act. If any parent is asked what they want for their children, from toddler stage to adulthood, the reply would most likely be happiness.
An article by Blackman, 2014, lends and interesting equation between money and happiness. The article illustrates that while some people depend on the materialistic things in life to make them happy such as the advancement of technology and higher incomes, they are still no more happier as a result. . This shows that while money provides us with the means to meet our basic needs and also affords the finer things in life, money in itself or by itself, does not equate to happiness.
In summary, happiness could only be viewed from the eyes of the beholder and could only be explained from a subjective point of view. While money is essential for our very existence, money as a singular entity would not contribute to our overall happiness. The same things which we crave from the materialist world, whether it is money, houses and other luxuries, may lead to our undoing. It may be worth asking ourselves the question as to whether we spend money on the things which make our lives better, or on things which just satisfy our quest for materialistic gains. While there is no one definition of happiness, as what would make one person happy, may not necessarily make the
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