There are a lot of ups and downs in life. Given these changes, how can we be happy?
I am plowing through Edith Hall’s book, Aristotle’s Way. She indicates that Aristotle thought happiness to be a state of mind no matter what is happening to you. He said happiness is the central purpose of life, and that it can be achieved by living moderately, without excesses that can be so alluring. It’s achieved by dealing with the day to day fabric and texture of life and habitually doing the right thing on a continuous basis.
Happiness is not the same as having wealth, power, or fame, since many who have those become tainted and conflicted. It’s a contentment we achieve when we know ourselves, live according to our values, and avoid getting sucked into what others seem to want us to be. Happiness comes when we cultivate virtues in our own character and in the way we deal with family and friends.
Seems like a tall order. But it also makes sense: When we are true to ourselves, we have the serenity of living in accord with our highest values. Living the best version of ourselves each day is certainly worth striving for since it makes for a happier community that all of us can engage in for both the short and the long run.
Patrick J. Wood