Happiness Essay, Research Paper
?The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance,
the wise grows it under his feet?
As I gaze out the window in my room, my curiosity keeps me there,
wondering what it is that makes a person smile. Do they smile because they are
genuinely happy? Or because they just heard a funny joke? Maybe their smile is just
a mask, used to conceal their pathetic, lonely reality. Through speculation and
interviews, I have been able to untangle the uncertainty of meaning true happiness.
Happiness has no limits, for it can be felt at any time, any place, to any person. A
personal experience, confined to the person and moment it belongs.
Many people chase happiness, thinking of it as pleasure or riches. However,
it is elusive until we stop looking for it. Happiness is not pleasure, for pleasure is an
end in itself. It is something that is hunted for. Happiness cannot be hunted for; it is
not obvious, but inscrutable. It confronts us in infinite forms. ?The idea that
happiness is the one ultimate good is known as hedonism?1 The hedonists believe
pleasure is the highest goal attainable in life, and can be found through outside
influences. They are forgetting that there is much more to happiness than what can
be seen. For example, it is possible for a millionaire to be unhappy, despite the
amount of money in their bank account, while at the same time a hermit may be
happy under the most miserable circumstances. Although money may bring an
immediate sense of ?pleasure? to a person, it does not produce the stability that is
associated with true happiness. Pleasure may help a person avoid the detractors that
cause unhappiness, but it does not produce the stability that is associated with true
Happiness is realized by understanding one?s self, which is completely a
personal experience. For instance, a person may find happiness in one thing,
whereas someone else may in another; or both may find it happy in the same thing,
but for different reasons. Written in the Declaration of Independence by Thomas
Jefferson is the immortal phrase ?Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?. Life is
eternal, and liberty is an inalienable right. However, we are only offered the right to
pursue happiness. A person can be given liberty but not happiness because it is not
an outward excursion of the soul, but an inward invasion.
Today we live in a world that is constantly seeking for happiness. People
have a mania about being happy and it has turned into a national hobby. It is also a
billion dollar business. Everywhere we turn someone has something that claims will
make us happy. If we drink a certain beer, buy a certain car, wear a certain pair of
pants, use a certain shampoo we are going to be happy. More often than not, people
become blinded by the eye appealing advertisement, and begin to believe it may aide
in their eternal quest towards happiness. We have passed down from generation to
generation the belief that happiness can be attributed to external causes. We?ve been
told that other people and the circumstances of our lives make us happy or unhappy.
Thus, implying that happiness is outside ourselves.
Happiness comes from the Old English word ?hap?, which means
?something that happens?. Happiness, then, happens. Happiness is what we let it
to be. We can be happy, like the hermit, even if we are alone and in pain.
Happiness is not the absence of sadness or pain. We cannot make ourselves happy.
It is elusive precisely until we stop looking for it. While we search for it, we are only
chasing something we vaguely think to be happiness.
Happiness is defined in Websters dictionary as ?a state well being and
contentment? or ?of pleasurable satisfaction?. This definition makes happiness a
state of the body. True happiness is a spiritual state and can exist even when the
body is utterly miserable. There is much more to happiness than feeling good or the
gratification of sensual desires. Bodily contentment demands constant attention and
replenishment, and soon wears off. Happiness is what we let it to be, and even
though carry the ability to let ourselves be happy, we rarely do.