Perspectives of Happiness

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Perspectives of Happiness
Artrie R. Allen
Kaplan University
HU300-21 Arts & Humanities: 20th Century December 31, 2012

Happiness is a word that can have many meanings for different people. Happiness as defined in the dictionary means “the quality or state of being happy”; “good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy” (Dictionary, 2013). Happiness is a learned emotion based on feelings or experiences. Happiness may symbolize a triumph over tragedy, spending time with loved ones, having good health, holding a certain status or by how one lives life in general. Happiness serves as one of the basic emotions that shape everyday lives. Great philosophers have coined terms and given their views of what happiness means. Greek philosopher Aristippus based his view of happiness on physical pleasure and to the possession of items owned that provide a person with pleasure, known as “hedonism”. Greek thinker Epicurus invented the term “epicurean”. Epicurus felt happiness came from being free from pain. Greek philosopher Zeno felt that true happiness is born from how we respond to events that happen to us-“Stoicism”. Philosophers Plato and Aristotle both believed that happiness is achieved after a fulfilled life. (Janaro and Altshuler, 2012) Cultures around the world have their own distinct views of happiness. Kenyans find happiness from working hard and making money (status) which in turn leads to being healthier and living longer. Tanzanians feel happiness through physical means from hugs to lift their spirits. Like the Kenyans, Tanzanians also feel that status, family and receiving phone calls add to their happiness. ( Happiness has many starting points. Celebrations of wedded bliss, births, anniversaries and even deaths can trigger happiness.

In the following interviews, there...