pursuit of happiness

Topics: Anxiety, Friendship, Happiness Pages: 8 (1702 words) Published: May 17, 2014


Find out where the joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing; For to miss the joy is to miss all. In The Consolation of Philosophy, by author Alain de Botton we are introduced to a philosopher named Epicurus. He was born in 341 BC and started learning philosophy at the age of 14 by traveling to hear lessons from philosophers of his time. Later on, he found out that he couldn’t agree with much of what they were saying, so in his late twenties he decided to arrange his thought into his own philosophy about life. Epicurus spent most of his life of chasing happiness and was lead to a conclusion that it’s a rather tricky issue. He stated that the purpose of life was categorically pleasure and one should not feel guilty for chasing pleasure. Though, what he meant by this, was hardly luxurious pleasure. Epicurus believed that he discovered three things that we really need in order to be happy, which are, friends, freedom and an analyzed life. Although, his philosophy about happiness is pleasure, the most pleasant life is one where we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve an inner tranquility by being content with the simple things that life has offer.

Epicurus claims that friendship as a key to happiness.  Friends contribute to our sense of identity, support us in trouble and help celebrate good times. Botton explains the importance of having friends by stating that, “we don’t exist unless there is someone who can see us existing, what we say has no meaning until someone can understand”(57). In simple terms Botton is trying to tell us that no life can be happy without friends, and no life will be miserable with them either. Moreover, many people think success without love would be empty, yet neglect to nurture their friendships or think proactively about who they value as friends. Making friendship a life priority can help protect the precious attachments that contribute so much to our happiness.

However, people tend to use the role of luxury and status in our society today for acceptance. But, true friends do not evaluate us according to worldly criteria. Botton compares the love of a true friend by saying, “like ideal parents, their love for us remains unaffected by our appearance or position in the social hierarchy”(57). He says that no matter who we are and what becomes of us in the future, our parent’s love will always be the same and that’s true love. A true friend doesn’t care about your status symbol and focuses on who we are as a person. Therefore , he is suggesting that surrounding yourself with ‘your’ people brings ones happiness, a sense of security and safety. It also provides us with support, assistance and a sense of belonging; not promoting selfishness.

Contrast to our lives today, we tend to rely on our social net friends which is not the same as having real friends. For example the use of social networks such us Facebook, Twitter, Instagram excreta, has its both advantages and disadvantages. Blogger Cherie Burbach, writes about online friendships saying, “While Facebook allows us to connect with people, it doesn't provide the same type of interaction that you'd get in real life.” this tells us an example of the pro cons of social media is staying in touch with our friends and other new friends we met online. But, this doesn’t provide us with the same interaction one...
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