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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Is Happiness a Feeling?

According to Wikipedia "Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy." [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness].

So I guess on this view happiness is a mental/emotional state rather than a feeling itself. What is the difference? - I think the suggestion is that if you often have pleasant or joyful emotions then you are happy. But what if you sometimes have unpleasant or discontented emotions too? - this presumably means you are sometimes happy and sometimes unhappy (like most of us).

The Wikipedia article also alludes to the fact that 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' were deemed to be unalienable rights by the United States Declaration of Independence.

But is happiness really the best thing to aim for if most of us are not going to be happy all the time and if many events in our lives are outside of our control?

Isn't it better to try to aim to make the most of happiness when it comes and to manage unhappiness as best you can when that comes?

What do you think?

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