Freud on Happiness

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Varea Romanenco
FLAN 257
November 24, 2007
Sr. Elena Arminio

Freud on Happiness

The everlasting question of "What is Happiness?" has been inquired since the creation of men. Unfortunately, the only agreed answer that humanity came up with is that all the creatures seek happiness, but no one has the concrete directions for achieving it. Our libraries are overwhelmed with books about happiness, but no dictionary definition explains which path men must take to be happy. No mathematician gave us the axiom which we could use to solve the problem of living in bliss. No scientist brought up the formula of fusing certain ingredients to produce the "drink of happiness". Still almost all the people consider that their ultimate purport in life is to achieve happiness. Ironically, very few of us can say, with certainty, that he/she is absolutely happy. Writers and philosophers have debated this topic for thousands of years; each theory contradicting the previous one and each idea being the antonym for the forthcoming doctrine. Sigmund Freud was one of the skeptics who rationalized "that the intention that man should be ‘happy' was not in the plan of ‘Creation (Freud 263)." Freud believed that there were two ways, though, for men to achieve some sort of happiness: positive and negative. From one hand the person can try to avoid all the causes that bring unhappiness, from the other - experience a strong, but short, feeling of happiness. For Freud, happiness, in the strictest sense of the word, was only experienced in short-lived brief moments of satisfaction when needs were satisfied (Freud 262). Therefore, in his opinion, it was impossible to be happy for a prolonged time, but only temporarily. Another important idea, which was mentioned in the Freud's theory, was that a parallel core requirement for experiencing happiness emerges from contrast. Thus, the most important goal is not to get used to our "happiness", because it might disappear; if it does, then we...
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