Friday, December 28, 2018

What is Happiness? (Redux)

Does fulfillment mean happiness? It’s a curious concept. Conceivably one could feel fulfilled in one's work without having satisfied certain needs which are generally thought to be a source of happiness. For instance sex and especially love are associated with happiness. Yet one may have worked for years at helping the poor in a Brazilian favela without having found the pleasure that comes from uniting with another individual. In this case the so-called pleasure would be selfless, deriving as it did from helping other people. Ronald Dworkin the famous philosopher and legal scholar once argued that doing things that were actually deleterious such as starving were antithetical to happiness, but that is taking the premise to its logical extreme ("What is a Good Life,The New York Review of Books, 2/1/11). Certainly the obverse, a life totally devoted to the satisfaction of the senses, in which anyone or thing that came in the way of self-gratification would be expunged can hardly be termed happiness. In fact, such behavior might ostensibly be conceived as a recipe for criminality. Having a wallet stuffed with money or the old notches in one’s belt or corset might be satisfying, but there’s no end to such gratifications or say the amount of Oxycontin or Fentanyl, one would need or could tolerate, if one were searching to search for oblivion through addiction. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.