Originally Answered: pursuit of happiness?
Happiness is an agreeable feeling or condition arising from good
fortune or propitious happening of any kind. It is the possession
of those circumstances or that state of being which is attended
with enjoyment. It is associated with good luck, good fortune,
prosperity, well-being, delight, health, safety, and love.
Happiness is generic, and is applied to almost every kind of
enjoyment except that of the animal appetites. It ia a state of
well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to
intense joy. These include: bliss, joy, joyous, carefree,
jubilant, exultant, cheerful, playful, amused, fun, glad, gay,
gleeful, jolly, jovial, delighted, euphoric, ecstatic, thrilled,
elated, enraptured, comfortable, harmonious, and triumphant.
Societies, religions, and individuals have various views on the
nature of happiness and how to pursue it.
Only saint-like persons, who feel that they are no longer
interested in the external world, think that happiness is within.
For many persons, nothing can make them happy. Our minds are as
different as our finger prints - no two are alike. Listening to
loud music makes one happy and makes another unhappy. Hence,
there can be no single definition for happiness. It is probably
impossible to objectively define happiness as humans know and
understand it, as internal experiences are subjective by nature.
Because of this, explaining happiness as experienced by one
individual is as pointless as trying to define the color green
such that a completely color blind person could understand the
experience of seeing green.
As a state and a subject, it has been pursued and commented on
extensively throughout world history.
"Call no man happy till he is dead." - Aeschylus
"Happiness is a positive cash flow." - Fred Adler
"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true
happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but
through fidelity to a worthy purpose." - Joseph Addison
"True happiness arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of
one's self, and in the next, from the friendship and conversation
of a few select companions." - Joseph Addison
Happiness is often associated with the presence of favourable
circumstances such as a supportive family life, a loving marriage,
and economic stability. Kali Yuga, the age of darkness, is the
time when these favourables are difficult to find.
Unfavorable circumstances - such as abusive relationships,
accidents, loss of employment, and conflicts - diminish the
amount of happiness a person experiences. In all nations, factors
such as hunger, disease, crime, corruption, and warfare can
decrease happiness. However, according to several ancient and
modern thinkers, happiness is influenced by the attitude and
perspective taken on such circumstances.
From the observation that fish must become happy by swimming, and
birds must become happy by flying. Aristotle points to the unique
abilities of man as the route to happiness. Of all the animals
only man can sit and contemplate reality. Of all the animals only
man can develop social relations to the political level. Thus the
contemplative life of a monk or professor, or the political life
of a military commander or politician will be the happiest
according to their own psyche.
The following is the self-reported positive affect (i.e. positive
emotion) during the day by 909 employed women in USA:
Activities and their positive effect index:
Intimate relations 5.10
Watching TV 4.19
Preparing food 3.93
On the phone 3.92
Taking care of
my children 3.86
Interaction with partners:
w/ friends 4.36
w/ relatives 4.17
w/ children 4.04
w/ clients/customers 3.79
w/ co-workers 3.76
w/ boss 3.52
Further, happiness is not entirely psychological in nature - it
has got a biological basis too. The neurotransmitter dopamine is
involved in desire and seems often related to pleasure. Pleasure
can be induced artificially with drugs. Use of drugs is not some
thing new, it has been used by many including Sanyasis since