Good afternoon and welcome to the Annual English Teachers Association Conference.
The great aristotle once said, “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”.
Today we will be discussing The Search for Meaning: Happiness and Existence - A Student’s Perspective.
Happiness is defined as “a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure or joy.” The Dalai Lama once said “happiness is not a luxury but the purpose of our existence.” We, like the Dalai Lama, believe that happiness is the meaning of life.
Happiness is not just an emotion. Happiness is relative and dynamic in nature, meaning it changes over time, and is experienced differently by each individual. For some, this could come in the form of Religion or acceptance by the world.
Our personal opinion, however is not the purpose of today’s seminar, we will be discussing the views of both Gerald Manley Hopkins and Albert Camus, on their beliefs of meaning and purpose.
Hopkins believed that the search for meaning is essential, and death is inevitable. He stated that existence must be enhanced by personal meaning. Hopkins wrote his poems during the romantic era. Characteristics of romanticism included a deepened appreciation of nature, and a strong belief in religions, features identified by Hopkins.
An example of these features can be found in Pied Beauty, one of Hopkins’ curtailed sonnets. It celebrates individual creation and difference, also highlighting the contrasts of the world. Hopkins uses words that refer to spotted or two toned objects such as “dappled”, “stippled” and “brinded”. This especially emphasises the beauty of difference in the world. God is referenced both at the begi...
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...e and sure of the death I had waiting for me. ”
Meursault accepts death and the life he as lived, living in the present. Meursault has no reliance on anything external, such as a God, because he finds his inner happiness and peace through acceptance of his own life.
To conclude, people’s definition of happiness will not remain the same throughout their lives, as proved through Gerard Hopkins and Albert Camus. For this pair, their meaning and purpose in life came through happiness however, they had to sacrifice parts of their lives to achieve it. They found happiness through their beliefs and the nature around them, contrastingly to the end, where happiness was experienced through reflection and understanding about why they made significant decisions. Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence, thank you for your attention!
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