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)

5 comments:

Elizabeth said...

According to the Westminister Shorter Chatechism, "man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." So not only is our happiness found in bringing glory to God, we were created to have this happiness found only in Christ. A very interesting observation Cree. Which leads me to wonder...when one makes the pursuit of happiness their chief end, are they missing the point of happiness and therefore unable to find happiness at all?

interfect said...

are you trying to make up for your lack of postings by using large font? i'll return your paper tomorrow. it's not like you'll work on it until monday anyways.

TheCree said...

Yeah Lizzy, it seems when we pursue happiness, we don't find it. Happiness, it seems, is a byproduct of being in God's will, or, at least, attempting to follow Him no matter what. We can't find happiness if we search for it.
And Tim...no, I'm not lol. Larger font...all the better to read you with.

Heather said...

Hmm that's true. Happiness usually DOES find us.

Lilz said...

I have no clue what you just said.

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