Everyone would like to be happy. But, what is happiness?
The definition of happiness depends on each person. Aristotle says as follows.
- When it comes to saying in what happiness consists, opinions differ. (The Nicomachean Ethics 1095b)
What is your definition of happiness, then? In other words, when do you feel happy?
According to Aristotle, “Plato and his followers in the Academy have held the view that over and above these particular goods (pleasure or money or eminence) there is another which is good in itself and the cause of whatever goodness there is in all these others.” (The Nicomachean Ethics 1095b)
But, pleasure or money or eminence cannot be the ultimate end.
Even animals seek for pleasure. We can say that the person who seeks for only pleasure is a slave of his/her instinct. Pleasure is such a low end as our ultimate end.
As for honour, Aristotle says that people seem to seek honour in order to convince themselves of their own goodness. But this appears to be somewhat deficient as an end. (The Nicomachean Ethics 1095b)
How about wealth? Wealthe is obviously not the good that we are seeking, because it serves only as a means; i.e. for getting something else. (The Nicomachean Ethics 1096a)
Then, what is our ultimate end?
Our ultimate end is Eudaimonia.
Eudaimonia is a greek word, commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, “human flourishing” has been proposed as a more accurate translation.
For example, for a person who has a talent for baseball, eudaimonia for him is to become a good baseball player.
We tend to forget the most important thing for our lives if we cling to pleasure, money, or honour.
The very best life for us is to seek for eudaimonia not for pleasure, money, or honour.