Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happiness

So I haven't posted in a long time. Well I have some time now, and here I am. With some pointless insights about life.

Today, I'm going to talk about happiness. Happiness, happiness. Something that everyone wants. Aristotle once wrote that, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Jonathan Edwards agreed, and concluded that, “happiness is the end of creation.” What is happiness? Who is it for? What does it mean?

When we look at this idea of happiness, it becomes apparent that when we say "happiness," we don't mean the emotions which happiness cause. The dictionary definition (State of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy) simply does not work. Why? Because these emotions are simply a by-product from something greater, something more spiritual. C.S. Lewis writes of a conversation between a Ghost and a divine being in the Great Divorce...

"The Ghost made a sound something between a sob and a snarl. 'I wish I had never been born,' it said. 'What are we born for?'

'For infinite happiness,' said the Spirit. 'You can step out into it at any moment...'"

The end of human existence, the entire purpose of their creation is for their infinite happiness. How could Lewis mean "emotions" by this?

Augustine writes, "The happy life is joy based on the truth. This is joy grounded in you, O God, who are the truth." Thomas Aquinas defines happiness as, essentially, "The Divine Essence". It seems apparent, then, that true happiness resides not in temporal felicity, or the things of this world, but contemplation, knowledge, and pursuit of God Himself.

True happiness is in God. Boethius writes that “true happiness is to be found in the supreme God”. Now, because man is sinful he can never obtain the entirety of God, or the “essence of happiness”. However, if one follows after God, he will attain a measure of happiness.

Solomon tells us, "Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law" (Proverbs 29:18). So, if you want to be happy, if you want to achieve your purpose, and fulfil the chief end of man...follow God. Follow God. And proclaim his word.


How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
(Isaiah 52:7)

Quotation of the Day

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