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Philosophy of happiness

Philosophy of happiness

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The philosophy of happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

is a direction by which philosophical inquiry approaches the nature of happiness and the ways by which to attain it. Both the classic Western philosophy
Western philosophy
Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western or Occidental world, as distinct from Eastern or Oriental philosophies and the varieties of indigenous philosophies....

 (Ancient philosophy
Ancient philosophy
This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire marked the ending of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire...

) and the Eastern philosophy
Eastern philosophy
Eastern philosophy includes the various philosophies of Asia, including Chinese philosophy, Iranian philosophy, Japanese philosophy, Indian philosophy and Korean philosophy...

 since its inception deal with the subject of happiness.

Happiness in the philosophy of the ancient world



Socrates


Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 (* 469 BC in Athens, † 399 BC) is fundamental for Western thinking. Almost all the major philosophical schools of antiquity have to rely on Socrates. Michel de Montaigne called him the "master of masters" and Karl Jaspers wrote, "Socrates to have in mind is one of the essential conditions of our philosophy".

Socrates was a mystic
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

. There are many accounts of his extraordinary abilities. He could fall for hours in meditation, go barefoot in winter and consume excessive amounts of alcohol, without ever showing signs of intoxication. He lived in strict guidance by his inner voice, whose origin he regarded as divine. He prayed regularly. About life after death, he preferred an open perspective, "Either it is a non-being, and we have no sensation after death - or, as it is told, it is a migration of the soul from this place to another." It is interesting to note that a significant portion of Plato's Pheado is concerned with various arguments whose purpose can be seen to prove the existence of life after death.

We can regard Socrates as the spiritual father of today's scientific thinking time. He was an advocate of reason. He was highly involved with the question of the truth. What is true and what is wrong? What is the way of a true life? Socrates had no ready answers. He left it to each of his students themselves, to find their own way of truth. Three things he gave them along the way: 1. Keep interested in the truth. 2. Make sure that your soul is as good as possible. 3. To get a good soul, maintain the four virtues of prudence
Prudence
Prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is classically considered to be a virtue, and in particular one of the four Cardinal virtues .The word comes from Old French prudence , from Latin...

, temperance
Temperance (virtue)
Temperance has been studied by religious thinkers, philosophers, and more recently, psychologists, particularly in the positive psychology movement. It is considered a virtue, a core value that can be seen consistently across time and cultures...

, courage
Courage
Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation...

 and justice (charity)
Justice (virtue)
Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues in classical European philosophy and Roman Catholicism. It is the moderation between selfishness and selflessness....

.

Aristippus of Cyrene


Perhaps the first philosopher who has developed a complete philosophy of happiness was Aristippus
Aristippus
Aristippus of Cyrene, , was the founder of the Cyrenaic school of Philosophy. He was a pupil of Socrates, but adopted a very different philosophical outlook, teaching that the goal of life was to seek pleasure by adapting circumstances to oneself and by maintaining proper control over both...

. He was a student of Socrates, but adopted a very different philosophical outlook, teaching that the goal of life was to seek external pleasure. Aristippus lived luxuriously. He is considered the founder of hedonism
Hedonism
Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure .-Etymology:The name derives from the Greek word for "delight" ....

.

Antisthenes


Antisthenes
Antisthenes
Antisthenes was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes first learned rhetoric under Gorgias before becoming an ardent disciple of Socrates. He adopted and developed the ethical side of Socrates' teachings, advocating an ascetic life lived in accordance with virtue. Later writers...

 (c. 445 BCE – c. 365 BCE) was also a student of Socrates. He adopted and developed the ethical side of Socrates' teachings, advocating an ascetic life lived in accordance with virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

. Later writers regarded him as the founder of Cynic philosophy
Cynicism
Cynicism , in its original form, refers to the beliefs of an ancient school of Greek philosophers known as the Cynics . Their philosophy was that the purpose of life was to live a life of Virtue in agreement with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health, and...

. His most important disciple was Diogenes
Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes the Cynic was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. Also known as Diogenes of Sinope , he was born in Sinope , an Ionian colony on the Black Sea , in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.Diogenes of Sinope was a controversial figure...

, who lived after a legend in a barrel. The way of happiness of Antisthenes is similar to the Enlightenment philosophy of Buddhism, Indian Yoga and Chinese Taoism. Through a life of peace, simplicity, naturalness, modesty and virtue (mental work) dissolve the inner tensions. Inner happiness and enlightenment
Enlightenment (spiritual)
Enlightenment in a secular context often means the "full comprehension of a situation", but in spiritual terms the word alludes to a spiritual revelation or deep insight into the meaning and purpose of all things, communication with or understanding of the mind of God, profound spiritual...

 appear. We find Antisthenes praising the pleasures which spring "from out of one's soul."

Plato


Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 lived from 428/427 BC to 348/347 BC in Athens. He was a student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. According to Plato the human soul consists of three parts: The reason, the will and the desire. A man is happy when all three parts of the soul are in balance. Plato has thought about how to build a good society. He proposed to transfer the leadership of a society to the wise. One could say that science (the philosophy of happiness) should be the center of happy society.

A student of Plato was Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. According to Aristotle, happy is he who develops his virtues and abilities. Perfectly happy can a man be called if he is sufficiently equipped with external goods and spends his life according to virtue.

Epicurus



For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain a happy, tranquil life, characterized by peace, freedom from fear, the absence of pain, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. A life after Epicurus
Epicurus
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism.Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works...

 (341-270 BC) is happy when you live everything in the right degree. Everyone should know his point of enough. "Whom is enough too little, nothing is enough."

Epicureans often confounded with the hedonists. Both are completely different philosophical paths. An Epicurean embodies a moderate path of asceticism and a hedonist a path of extreme external pleasure. Epicureanism
Epicureanism
Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. Following Aristippus—about whom...

 is wisdom and hedonism is unwisdom. Epicureanism leads to enlightenment
Enlightenment (spiritual)
Enlightenment in a secular context often means the "full comprehension of a situation", but in spiritual terms the word alludes to a spiritual revelation or deep insight into the meaning and purpose of all things, communication with or understanding of the mind of God, profound spiritual...

 (inner happiness) and hedonism to unenlightenment (inner tensions, addictions).

Epicurus taught positive thinking. A life will be happy when we constantly train positive thinking. Epicurus called it "philosophize." A person should philosophize every day. One should think about the meaning of life and reflect again and again to his positive goals. One should avoid it, to worry too much.

The inner happiness comes from inner peace. When a person calms down, inner happiness appears. Epicurus recommended it to live in inner peace, "Then you live like a God (Buddha) among your unwise fellow men," which an Epicurean also helps on the way: "The friendship dances around the globe, all of us announcing that we shall awaken to bliss."

Happiness in the philosophy of the middle ages



Augustine of Hippo


Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 (354 – 430), was Bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria). He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province. His writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity. In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order.

Augustine wrote a whole book (the happy life) about human happiness. The ultimate goal of all human endeavor lies in the happiness. Happiness man can receive but not by satisfaction of goods of this world. Lasting happiness is possible only by living in God. God is the greatest happiness that a man can achieve, "for God has created us to him and our heart is restless until it rests in God."

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite


Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, also known as Pseudo-Denys, was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, the author of the Corpus Areopagiticum . The author is identified as "Dionysos" in the corpus, which later incorrectly came to be attributed to Dionysius...

, was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, the author of the Corpus Areopagiticum. He is identified as "Dionysos" in the corpus, which later came to be attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite. In the so-called Mystical theology
Mystical theology
Mystical theology is a branch of theology which treats of acts and experiences or states of the soul which cannot be produced by human effort.-Catholic tradition:...

, it is primarily Dionysius the Areopagite, who deals with the idea of happiness. According to him, the human soul longs for God. This yearning can be satisfied only by the mystical union with God. Over the three steps purity (katharsis), enlightenment (photismos) and agreed (teleiosis) can one reach the knowledge of God.

"For by this ecstasy, (...) you will, after you have everything removed and detached, brought to the real ray of the divine shadow." "The divine darkness is the inaccessible light, in which God lives. In it are all who have become worthy to recognize God." "It is necessary to (... ) go into the darkness, to find the one that is beyond all."

Meister Eckhart


Eckhart von Hochheim, known as Meister Eckhart
Meister Eckhart
Eckhart von Hochheim O.P. , commonly known as Meister Eckhart, was a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Gotha, in the Landgraviate of Thuringia in the Holy Roman Empire. Meister is German for "Master", referring to the academic title Magister in theologia he obtained in Paris...

 (c. 1260; † c. 1327) was a late medieval theologian and philosopher. Meister is German for "Master", referring to the academic title Magister in theologia he obtained in Paris. He is an important link of the Western philosophy with the Eastern religions, because he had an impersonal image of God and tought it to meditate (God can be found in the silence).

"A man should not be content to have an imaginary God. (...) Those who have God in being, (...) God shines in all things, all things taste like God, and God is seen in all things. (...) This needs zeal and devotion and a close attention to the inside. (...) One has to learn an inner loneliness, wherever one is. (...) Surely if you want to master this, you have to practice a lot and often."

For Meister Eckhart meditation is helpful to get a life in God, "Know indeed. Standing quite still and as long as possible, this is your very best." At the same time, it is also important to walk the way of charity, "As Mary sat at the feet of our Lord , she learned. (...) But later, when Christ had gone to heaven, and she had received the Holy Spirit, (...) she taught and became a servant of the disciples."

Michel de Montaigne


Michel de Montaigne
Michel de Montaigne
Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne , February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592, was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre and is popularly thought of as the father of Modern Skepticism...

 (*1533, †1592) was a French politician and philosopher. He is considered the most important successor of Epicurus. At the age of 38, he moved back from working life in order to devote himself extensively to philosophy. He thought thoroughly about himself and his life. Thereby he created his famous Essais. Stoic contempt of outward appearances, criticism of the human arrogance and natural skepticism of any dogma characterize the Essais. Remarkably modern even to readers today, Montaigne's attempt to examine the world through the lens of the only thing he can depend on implicitly — his own judgment. He wrote, "The enjoyment of life requires a deliberate handling with it. I enjoy my life twice as much as the others." "Philosophy makes those who are devoted to her, happy and cheerful."

Like Epicurus, the center of the art of life for Montaigne was to find the right balance. But Montaigne turned to pleasure much more than Epicurus. Epicurus preferred to live as a single. Montaigne was married. "I think it's equally wrong to reject the natural desires, as to hang too much on them."

Arthur Schopenhauer



Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

 (*1788, † 1860) was a German philosopher, author and lecturer. He established a system of empirical and metaphysical pessimism. The world for him was a "vale of tears, full of suffering. All happiness is an illusion. Life oscillates like a pendulum, back and forth between the pain and boredom". "Each life history is a story of suffering, a continuing series of large and small accidents."

Schopenhauer taught pessimism as a way to happiness. He found inspiration in Buddhism. In Buddhism, the outer world can be visualized as a field of suffering to awaken the enlightenment energy (Kundalini
Kundalini
Kundalini literally means coiled. In yoga, a "corporeal energy" - an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force or Shakti, lies coiled at the base of the spine. It is envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as 'serpent...

). Grief can dissolve inner blockages. Pessimism can sometimes be helpful, but it does not always.

Jeremy Bentham


Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism...

 (* 1748 † 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism. He is best known for his advocacy of animal rights, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression and equal rights for women. He is considered the founder of classical utilitarianism
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

. The greatest happiness for the greatest number (greatest-happiness-principle) is the guiding principle of Bentham's ethics. An act is therefore morally right if it is good for many people. For Bentham, the quantity of happiness was the deciding factor. His student John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, economist and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of...

 represented, that cultural, intellectual and spiritual satisfaction also own a qualitative value.

The current philosophy of happiness



Today's philosophy of happiness is strongly influenced by the happiness research
Happiness economics
Happiness economics is the quantitative study of happiness, positive and negative affect, well-being, quality of life, life satisfaction and related concepts, typically combining economics with other fields such as psychology and sociology. It typically treats such happiness-related measures,...

. Happiness research is the quantitative study of happiness, positive and negative affect, well-being, quality of life and life satisfaction. The field has grown substantially since the late 20th century. The Greek thinkers are still current, but very important is also the positive thinking
Optimism
The Oxford English Dictionary defines optimism as having "hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favourable or hopeful view." The word is originally derived from the Latin optimum, meaning "best." Being optimistic, in the typical sense...

 in its various forms (see Self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

, Positive psychology
Positive psychology
Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in...

). Well known are Joseph Murphy
Joseph Murphy (author)
Joseph Murphy was New Thought minister ordained in Divine Science and Religious Science and author.Murphy was born in Ireland, the son of a private boy's school headmaster and raised a Roman Catholic. He studied for the priesthood and joined the Jesuits...

, Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie
Dale Breckenridge Carnegie was an American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills...

, Norman Vincent Peale
Norman Vincent Peale
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was a minister and author and a progenitor of the theory of "positive thinking".-Early life and education:...

, Wayne Dyer
Wayne Dyer
Wayne Walter Dyer is an American self-help advocate, author, and lecturer.- Early life :Dyer was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Melvin Lyle and Hazel Irene Dyer and spent much of his adolescence in an orphanage on the east side of Detroit. Dr. Wayne Dyer is a 1958 graduate of Denby High School;...

, Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson is a spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation currently before Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace. She is also the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that...

, Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

 and the Dalai Lama
14th Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are the most influential figures in the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, although the 14th has consolidated control over the other lineages in recent years...

. They sold many books in the western book market and some are often seen on TV.

Ludwig Marcuse


An important contemporary book on the philosophy of happiness wrote Ludwig Marcuse
Ludwig Marcuse
Professor Ludwig Marcuse , was a philosopher and writer of Jewish origin....

. In it he told humorous stories of many Western philosophers of happiness. He believed that there are only some moments of happiness in life, but the great permanent happiness does not exist. With this statement he is in opposition to many spiritual philosophers (Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, Laozi
Laozi
Laozi was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching . His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism...

, Meister Eckhart, Patanjali
Patañjali
Patañjali is the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice. According to tradition, the same Patañjali was also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a commentary on Kātyāyana's vārttikas on Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as an unspecified work of medicine .In...

). Professor Ludwig Marcuse (1894–1971), was a German philosopher. From 1940 to 1950 he lived in Los Angeles.

The ethics of transcendence


Jonathan Haidt
Jonathan Haidt
Jonathan Haidt is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on the psychological bases of morality across different cultures and political ideology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He was awarded the Templeton Prize in Positive...

 is an American psychology professor. He wrote the book The Happiness Hypothesis in which he combines ancient philosophical and spiritual knowledge with the latest happiness research. His main teaching is the ethics of transcendence (living in God). Psychologically, it is shown that a person has in his brain an area for experiences of God. The enlightened one is happier than an unenlightened. Religion makes you happy, if not lived too dogmatic and intolerantly.

Haidt sees himself as an atheist, who does not believe in God, but advocates for reasons of inner happiness and health positive spiritual values, "If we rely on balanced wisdom - old and new, eastern and western, liberal and conservative - we can choose directions in our life that lead to satisfaction, happiness and a sense of purpose."

Nozick and the experience machine


One contemporary thought experiment
Thought experiment
A thought experiment or Gedankenexperiment considers some hypothesis, theory, or principle for the purpose of thinking through its consequences...

 that has direct relevance to the philosophy of happiness is the experience machine thought experiment that was created by the American philosopher Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

 in Anarchy, State, Utopia. The thought experiment gives you the option to enter a machine that would give you the maximum amount of unending hedonistic pleasure for the rest of your life. But since most people would prefer not to take this kind of deal if offered shows that hedonistic pleasure is not the ultimate goal of human life, and that happiness or "the good life" therefore requires more than maximisation of pleasure.

Positive psychology emphasizes positive values


Sonja Lyubomirsky
Sonja Lyubomirsky
Sonja Lyubomirsky is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness, a book of strategies backed by scientific research that can be used to increase happiness....

 is one of America's happiness researchers. She is a professor and wrote the international bestseller The How of Happiness. She wondered what one can do if one want to get a happy life. She accepted that, after the current state of research about 50 percent of a given human's happiness level is genetically determined. About 10% of happiness is affected by external living conditions. But 40% of happiness can be influenced by the mind of a person.

After Sonja Lyubomirsky the secret of lasting happiness is that we turn our attention mainly to those 40% and constantly maintain our inner happiness. We should exercise regularly, avoid negative thoughts and encourage positive thoughts, maintain our social relationships and have a positive task in our lives. Many studies demonstrate the positive effects of meditation on our happiness, "Meditate every day. Begin with five minutes and increase to up to 20 minutes a day."

Sonja Lyubomirsky developed a twelve-point program for personal happiness. The main point for her is gratitude
Gratitude
Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling, emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions, and has been considered extensively by moral...

. We should focus on the positives in our lives and be grateful. We should live according to principles such as optimism, joy, helpfulness, forgiveness, good social relationships, good health care and a positive task if we want to achieve a happy and fulfilling life.

A happy society


Richard Layard (born 15 March 1934) is a British economist. He was founder-director in 1990 of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. He argues that people in the West could live happier if they would instead focus on the growth of the outer wealth concentrate themselves on the growth of inner happiness. At the moment the unbridled selfishness destroys the growth of general happiness. People in the West need a new philosophy on the basis of the happiness research. The goal should be the greatest happiness of all.

Richard Layard stated, "Although the people in the West are for decades got richer, they have not become happier. (...) Studies show that people are not happier today than 50 years ago. And this despite the fact that the real median income in this period has more than doubled." On the contrary, people are getting richer externally and internally unhappy. The likelihood of suffering from a clinical depression is now ten times as large as a century ago.

Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 is a small landlocked country in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China. Gross national happiness
Gross national happiness
The assessment of gross national happiness was designed in an attempt to define an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than only the economic indicator of gross domestic product .-Origins and meaning:The term...

 (GNH) is a concept introduced by the King of Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 in 1972 as an alternative to the Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

. Although the GNH framework reflects its Buddhist origins, it is based upon the empirical research of happiness, positive psychology and wellbeing. The philosophy of happiness of Bhutan rests on four pillars: a healthy environment, a good economy, a democratic government and the anchoring in a positive religion / culture.

See also


  • Happiness
    Happiness
    Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

  • New Age
    New Age
    The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

  • Religion and happiness
    Religion and happiness
    Religion and happiness have been studied by a number of researchers. The science of positive psychology has identified many components of happiness, and religion seems adapted to satisfy many of them...

  • The good life
    The good life
    The good life is a term for the life that one would like to live, or for happiness, associated with the work of Aristotle and his teaching on ethics.-Religious approaches:...

  • World peace
    World peace
    World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...



Further reading

  • Dalai Lama, co-authored with Howard C. Cutler, The Art of Happiness
    The Art of Happiness
    The Art of Happiness is a book by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist who posed questions to the Dalai Lama...

    , 2003.
  • Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, 2005.
  • Richard Layard, Happiness, Lessons from a New Science, 2005.
  • Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. 2007.
  • Ludwig Marcuse: Philosophie des Glücks. Paul List Verlag, München 1962.
  • Matthieu Ricard
    Matthieu Ricard
    Matthieu Ricard is a French Buddhist monk who resides at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal.Born in Aix-les-Bains, Savoie, France, he is the son of the late Jean-François Revel , a renowned French philosopher, and grew up among the personalities and ideas of French intellectual circles...

    , Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill, (2006).

External links