A Deep Dive into: Happiness [pt.1] – Is it a real goal, a real thing, a linguistic label or nothing at all? (inspired by one of the students I teach)

I asked my class today ‘What are Humanity’s greatest accomplishments/achievements?’

And one of the answers that came back back was: Happiness.

Whether we have achieved/accomplished this as a species (or any of us…. All of us?) is less important, but it brings up an idea: Is ‘Happiness’ just something that Humans created? Is it sustainable? Is contentment a healthier state? Is it a product of our complicated consciousness? Do other animals feel and pursue this in the same way we do?

The ancient Greeks had a more attainable, and I’d argue more sustainable and beneficial for society word for the optimal emotional state that we should aim for:

Eudaimonia.

It roughly translates to: flourishing. Which means that you live a life of Good, where you look after yourself and those around you, help when asked and you can and leads to a state which you are reaching your maximum potential as a human being.

Happiness may just be an illusion. Eudaimonia is something you can have at any point in your life. You decide it. Happiness in the populist sense… you may not be able to…