What makes me happy? We could give a lot of answers. For example, maybe someone really likes brownies. If he gets a nice gooey one with whipped cream and chocolate syrup on top, he’s happy. Food can make me happy. In fact, a lot of people are overweight because they cannot find happiness in other areas of their lives, so they try to find it where they can: good food. Yet food can never be a substitute for real happiness.
How about spending a day at a Six Flags theme park? Or winning a trip to Disney World? Or taking a Bahaman Cruise? Or spending a week in NYC? I’ll have fun and that will make me happy, but that cannot be real lasting happiness either. “Happiness does not lie in amusement; it would be strange if one were to take trouble and suffer hardship all one’s life in order to amuse oneself.” (Aristotle)
I can achieve a goal: get to the Olympics, land the job I always wanted, visit 25 different countries, learn various languages, meet famous people. But I reach that prize…and then what? Is it going to keep making me happy? All the time?
And if you had all those things and you lived alone, with no one who loved you or cared about you, would you be happy? Aristotle insisted, “Without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all other goods.”
We can see that there are different levels of happiness. If you can find a “better” type of happiness, you don’t need so much the lower kinds, because you have what’s most important. So no we have to find the kind of happiness that will make us…happy. A kind of happy that can’t be taken away.
Next question: Is there a type of happiness that will completely satisfy me?