Can We Be Happy?

Topics: Psychology, Meaning of life, Human Pages: 2 (819 words) Published: March 25, 2013
Underlying the diverse motivations of human behaviour and characterizing the various modes of being in the world at physical, psychological and mental levels of experience, the desire for happiness seems paramount. Of course, happiness is subjective and is interpreted differently according to personal understanding and external circumstances. For some, reflection on the concept of happiness may be based predominantly on self - self-preservation, self-protection, self-satisfaction, self-promotion etc; for some, it may be focused on others – the well-being, safety, joy of one’s loved ones and even of mankind in general. Mostly, these two elements of focus, self and others, are intertwined and co-existent, albeit in different proportions at different times. One can scarcely be happy if one’s loved ones are suffering in any way. However, it ultimately comes down to the question: what makes me feel happy? Many, if not all of our decisions, actions, thoughts, plans, hopes and desires are, on some essential level, propelled by this question.The human being desires to be happy! This is a seemingly simple proposition which may be accepted as definitive and certain. In his reflection on ‘the purpose of human life’, Freud concluded that apart from a religious perspective, life has no intrinsic meaning or purpose. However, this does not deny the fact that individuals portray, through their behaviour, the intention and purpose of their lives; from this observation, Freud concludes that the pursuit of happiness is the universal intention of all persons: ‘What do they demand of life and wish to achieve in it? The answer to this can hardly be in doubt. They strive for happiness; they want to become happy and to remain so’ (Freud: 1995: 729). However, the concept of happiness and the desire for happiness inspires philosophical, psychological and literary reflections which interrogate and question this tautology. Many questions ensue: is it possible for a human being to desire to...
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