Assignment Three : LUSENET : Walsh Intro to Philosophy : One Thread

The first aspect of Aristotle's "The Rational Life" that I tend to agree with is the fact that happiness is generally associated with living well and doing well. I think that is generally the opinion of most people, but you can run into problems when you ask the question of what does it mean to be happy? I think it means something different for each person, and I think that many times, people are unaware of what it is that makes them happy. So many times we'll ask a friend if they are really happy. But when we ask that question so casually, we forget that happiness is different for each person. And in most instances I don't think people have ever really thought about what makes them happy. I feel as though society tells us what happiness is. According to society we should automatically be happy if we are surrounded by materialistic things. But there is little or no concern with a spiritual life making us happy. So often we hear of wealthy people who have everything (materialistically), but they are still not happy. Do they know what would make them happy? What would happiness be to them? Many people seem to think that wealth would make them happy. So my question is does anyone know what it is that really makes them happy? One point that Aristotle makes that I disagree with is that in order to be happy, you have to live a complete life. In other words, you can't say whether you have lived a happy life until your life is over and you look back and evaluate it. The reason why I so strongly disagree with this statement is that I resent the fact that according to Aristotle, I don't know if I've been happy so far in my life. Realizing that I'm only 18 years old and that I have the remainder of my life to live, I still feel like I can say that I have lived a happy life. I suppose that my opinion could change at some point down the road, but if someone were to ask me if I am happy, I would most certainly say yes. Because, according to what I think happiness is, I am happy. I have a very large, close family, I have great friends, I'm healthy, and I have a strong spiritual life. So I would tend to argue with Aristotle if he tried to tell me that at this point I can't say if my life has been happy or not. The rest of the points Aristotle makes are ones that I pretty much agree with. I think that he looked at the opinions of society very objectively and got a fairly accurate dipiction of people's lives.

-- Anonymous, February 24, 2000

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