Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happiness

DEAR READERS, I am working on a project on the subject of happiness, and I am seeking some help on references from theology, philosophy, and psychology.

Now anyone who knows me personally may think this is an absurd project for me, since I tend to have a melancholic temperament, rarely appearing to be happy. However, this is no detriment, since theologians, philosophers, scientists, artists, and mystics are typically melancholics too, and so I am in very good company — and these are the people who are most likely to seriously consider the subject.  However, my father, who has a far more balanced personality than me, is providing practical advice on how to be happy.

Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote, “…all men agree in desiring the last end, which is happiness.” It is obvious that question of happiness is of universal importance. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on this subject begins:
The primary meaning of… [happiness] in all the leading European languages seems to involve the notion of good fortune, good chance, good happening; but from a very early date in the history of Greek philosophy the conception became the centre of keen speculation and dispute. What is happiness? What are its constituents? What are the causes and conditions of happiness? How, if at all, does it differ from pleasure? What are its relations to man's intellect, to his will, to his life as a whole? What is its position in a general theory of the universe? These are questions which have much occupied the various schools of philosophy and, indeed, have exercised men who would not be willingly accused of philosophizing. For happiness is necessarily amongst the most profoundly interesting subjects for all of us…
What I am seeking is references to scholarly writings on the subject, from theologians, philosophers, psychologists and others. I am also interested in comparing what Catholic philosophers and theologians think about happiness and comparing them to those of other religions, as well as comparing ancient understandings of happiness with modern thinking.

While I have been successful in finding many quotes and snippets of writing on the subject, I’m having more trouble finding the original works, to help judge their veracity, as well as to examine the context of the quotes.

If you could share some links or references, I would appreciate it greatly. You can either leave a comment here or send me an email at msabeln@yahoo.com.


2 comments:

  1. Have you heard of The Happiness Project? Here's some TED talks on happiness: http://www.ted.com/topics/happiness

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  2. Aristotle talks about it as the telos of living in the Nicomachaean Ethics.

    http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.1.i.html

    God bless.

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