I think the grumpy are much-maligned. Grinning inanely or seemingly having a constantly good time, is not necessarily a marker of true happiness or contentedness. These latter states of being are more indicative of low stress levels and an Epicurean ideal of ataraxia. Being only happy could even be a type of depression; a fixed state and denying the experience of variable and fluctuating emotions. Or of mania.
What do you think? Should we pursue happiness? Is that realistic – or does questioning this appear to be a negative thought to you?
- Happiness is Pleasure; all things are to be done for the sake of the pleasant feelings associated with them
- False beliefs produce unnecessary pain; among them, that the gods will punish us and that death is something to be feared
- There are necessary and unnecessary desires. Necessary desires, like desiring to be free from bodily pain, help in producing happiness, whereas unnecessary desires, like desiring a bigger car or a more luxurious meal, typically produce unhappiness
- The aim is not the positive pursuit of pleasure but rather the absence of pain, a neutral state he calls “ataraxia,” which is freedom from all worry, often translated simply as “inner tranquility.”
- This state of ataraxia can be achieved through philosophical contemplation rather than through pursuit of crass physical pleasures
- Happiness is not a private affair: it can be more readily achieved in a society where like-minded individuals band together to help inspire one another’s pursuit of happiness