The meaning of happiness is similar to all, that is happiness is a feeling of pleasure and gratification. The disparity of the concept of happiness among individuals lies in the question of what makes them happy and what meaning of happiness is true to them. Although some people might contest, especially those individuals who are moralistically disposed, happiness is at par with inner goodness (Russel 924).
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The ends of both ideologies match in that they both generate kindness and goodness in deed, however, the difference lies in the intention and the natural inclination to do it. Happiness is not grounded on the need to be righteous, but is rooted on an unconstrained desire to do what is morally good.
If we live by morals and values, such that we speak of principles and morality, or even righteousness, and our actions are based on these guiding ideologies, we deprive ourselves of the true meaning of happiness. Happiness is something that comes from within and is demonstrated through impulsive desires to do what is morally upright.
People who come across these ideas might not be able to distinguish the difference from the two exactly opposite thoughts, and to point out matters clearly, the moral view of upholding principles and moral ideologies become questionable because of their tendencies "to stress the act rather than the state of mind" (Russel 924).
Happiness brought about by the recognition of successes and acts of goodness is not leaning towards the true meaning of happiness. An individual’s state of mind is all too important in determining the essence of true happiness. Happiness should not be planned, uptight, and neither imposed on the self. Happiness is a spontaneous reaction that springs up and sends out impulses to do just the right things, say the right words, think of the right feelings and emotions without the element of counting how many good things you did, kind words you said, or good thoughts in your mind.
Let me pitch in a simple example about the difference between the moralistic view and the hedonistic view, as coined by Russel. Say, for example just the simple act of going to church creates a defining line between the two principles of happiness. If a man goes to church, simply because he is drawn to attending the Sunday mass, maybe to thank the Divine Being for the blessings he received or maybe to help out in causes that the particular church supports, his behavior becomes a basis for what true happiness is.
On the other hand, if a man goes to church because he thinks it is his moral obligation to do so, and his happiness to go to church is rooted from his moral obligation, then his notion of happiness is flawed, not too mention, it is not happiness at all. True happiness is measured by the goodness of the heart that is reflected by what you do, and not by the goodness of what you do alone.
In addition, true happiness is not the kind of happiness that one desires for himself to be. True happiness is not bounded on just the self, but the self as just a small piece of the large puzzle. True happiness is such that "a man comes to feel himself part of the stream of life" (Russel 925).
The true essence of happiness is sharing it with others and giving it back to the world. I personally believe that nobody deserves happiness, and that if a man becomes truly happy, that happiness is a rare blessing that only a few people may experience. Therefore, if a man becomes happy, I believe he should give it back to whoever he owes it to, such the idea that blessings should be shared to other people. Under this context of happiness, the expression of love ("Creating Happiness in One Step") and compassion for other people, for nature, and for the Divine Being is a simple way of creating a ripple of happiness within and sharing it to others. Happiness in this manner is the same as the first principle of doing good because it just seems so right to do so.
This idea connects to the inspiration of an unselfish happiness, and unselfish happiness abounds where happiness goes beyond the idea of the self. Taking it from the moralistic view, the principles of morality is guided by the idea of how things are supposed to be in this world. The only issue regarding this matter is that, at one point in our lives, we realize that all the things that should happen do not actually happen. The point here is that, when a man feels happy and wants other people to feel happy too because that is how life should be, he should remember that he can contribute as much in order to make other people happy. As I always experience, there is always joy in making others happy too.
Furthermore, happiness does not spring up with just the flicker of a hand. It takes a lot of work to be happy when we talk about all the negativities in life. I guess, the idea here, which is opposite to the moralistic view’s self-denial, is that individuals should be able to accept the imperfections of life. Aside from the good life that Russel said, having a happy life is somewhat connected to contentment (Cutler 932). Soaring above all the failures and mistakes is one recipe for happiness (Van Warmerdam).
If a man is contented, he lives his life like a log floating in a river. A man who is happy is ready to go where life takes him. It is in the acknowledgement of an individual’s role in this world that allows him to believe he is here to experience all that life is going to bring him, no matter what; and no matter what, he is happy, because he believes in it. Agreeably so, a man who is not afraid to face his end, is happy.
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