The Pursuit of Happiness
In the book, “You Learn by Living,” Eleanor Roosevelt notes: “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product”(Roosevelt 95). When one’s specific desire is fulfilled, feelings of happiness flourish. Therefore, happiness is the ultimate goal in life for many people in today’s society because their life revolves around desire. That said, everyone’s interpretation of happiness varies. Some may believe wealth and power will bring them happiness, while others might argue that beauty and popularity will keep them happy. Whatever the recipe of happiness may be, the product is universal—they all generate feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Temporary pleasure and satisfaction, that is. What if the word “eternal” was inserted into the definition of happiness to say that it was a state of eternal well-being and contentment? How would one sought to pursue this form of happiness? At the start of Book One of The Consolation of Philosophy, Ancius Boethius, a learned official of the Roman Empire who awaits execution for unjust accusations, desolately rests in his jail cell, writing poetry and contemplating on life with the Muses of Poetry. He is soon interrupted by Philosophy, who appears to him in the form of a lovely woman that is “full of years, yet possesses a vivid color and undiminished vigor” (Boethius 2). As a physician treating a patient would, Lady Philosophy diagnoses Boethius with a serious illness, which she says she is here to cure, unlike the Muses she calls “hysterical sluts”(Boethius 2) who is only here to take Reason away from him. When asked to “discover his wounds”, Boethius begins to moan about the loss of good fortune: his wealth, his power, his friends, and even contact with his family. He goes on to complain that he is suffering unjustly in a state of complete innocence, blaming Fortune for taking away these goods. As for Lady Philosophy, whether or not Boethius is a “victim of Fortune” (Boethius 4), as he calls himself, is...
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