“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” (F) What is happiness and how is it achieved? Simple questions, with different complex answers, none of which can be proved to be right or wrong. Happiness is an individual state of being of each person, acquired by one’s perception in that special moment in time. It simply depends on the individual and how they try to obtain it. Thousands of people try different paths in order to successfully achieve happiness; some of them finding it, some of them never reaching the goal. There are thousands of different answers and meanings for happiness. In this paper, I will argue that the most necessary virtue an individual needs to be have to be happy, is the virtue of mind. Aristotle, one of the most important Greek philosophers in history, defined happiness as the activity of the mind in accordance with virtue. He did not think of happiness as just a state of being; he thought of happiness to be the highest form of good. Everything people do has a specific purpose in life; it aims at something, at a final good. Happiness is an end sufficient in itself, is the end at which all our actions aim. In order to reach this perfect state, he thought the individual should possess; external, mind and bodily virtues and living and acting in accordance to them. By doing so, achieving total happiness.
Virtue is what aids proper functioning, since when possessed makes the possessor good. Virtue is a matter of having an apt attitude towards pleasure and pain; therefore it lies in a mean between two extremes. Aristotle implied the mean or balance to be between two vices, the excess which is the one that exceeds and defect the one that falls short, of what is right in our desires and actions. Whereas virtue, finds and chooses what is intermediate. The idea of the virtue then, is for the desires to set the situation and for the individual to be able to choose the intermediate and act like a virtuous person. External pleasures; such as honor, wealth and power. Physical pleasures such as beauty, health, and fertility. And mental pleasures such as; patience, intelligence and honesty, are the virtues he believed lead to a good life.
In order to achieve happiness, is necessary to be a virtuous person. If the individual does not have virtues, then it does not have anything to guide their lives by. That being said, the most important virtue to possess is the virtue of the mind, which refers to peace of mind. After being able to attain peace of mind, accomplishing the other virtues and making good use of them is much easier, since mental pleasure is the basis of every other virtue. Positive thoughts, security, believing and accepting oneself, high self-esteem and more, is what makes one happy and leads the individual in the pursuit of more positive actions, therefore making the individual more likely to obtain the other virtues.
The way one thinks of themselves and the attitude that one has about life tells a lot about a person. People who have virtue of the mind are going to be happy no matter what, because they know how to react towards life, even in the moments of misfortune or disgrace. For example, people who are going through hard times know how to handle the situation better because they have a positive outlook on life and are able to cope with those situations better. People who have virtue of the mind also know their various challenges and obstacles and are still able to overcome them. Having peace of mind, and knowing how to make good use of one’s internal virtues, is an effortless way to live one’s life and have a better future. By accepting oneself intellectually, physically and interiorly, as well as accepting the environment in which one lives, including the people, the traditions and society, to the point where one respects the other people, including their acts, their way of thinking and their way of living. Peace of mind is not worrying about the future or for the...
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