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January 09 , 2010

Philosophy of Happiness


Summary: If you expect another instance of light reading, hype about quick and easy fixes, or spiritual humbug to distract you from life's realities, what I have to share is not for you. Nor is it for you if you are looking for a rehashing of old ideas. My work is what you read when you become discontented with teachings that leave you misdirected or stranded or that at best point to one or a few pieces of the puzzle. It constitutes an original, comprehensive, and thorough examination of happiness that aims to empower each of us to develop and implement our own philosophy of happiness.

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Detail: Happiness. We spend our life and all our efforts in its pursuit. Yet do we really know what it is and how it occurs? Are we secure in how to achieve and maintain it? Are we certain that we are maximizing our potential to obtain it? Our answers to these questions may not be as firm as we would like them to be. The principles and strategies we produce or receive from others may not provide the happiness they promise or we desire. We may be able to blame interference or seemingly unchangeable circumstances as causes for this shortfall. But we may also sense that our lack of insight arrests our happiness at levels short of its potential. We are searching, often not even knowing what we are looking for.

This book investigates in a thorough manner what happiness is and how we might achieve happiness. It is written as a theoretical and practical guide that does not require prior philosophical training. Striving to cover all facets of human pursuits of happiness, its philosophical considerations in­clude topics of law, economics, political science, sociology, history, anthropology, psychology, biology, and physics. Its inclusive examination reveals happiness as an intensely individual phenomenon as well as a systematic force that shapes human destiny and matters beyond up to a cosmic scale.

The book illuminates these subjective and objective functions of happiness. Its insights about the nature of happiness may help us to understand the general subject matters of our search as well as the general terrain and rules by which we must abide in our pursuit of happiness. However, it does not presume to know what specific objectives and pursuits will make us happy. Rather, it develops, describes, and encourages us to discover tools to find, understand, and define our personal happiness and to pursue the implementation of this vision with optimized preparedness. Its objective is not to indoctrinate but to empower us.

The book proposes that humans are generally endowed with all internal constituents and mechanisms to develop their happiness to its fullest possible extent. Unless our faculties are pathologically impeded, we might only have to become aware of these inherent forces to actuate them. Improving our happiness seems to be a function of comprehensively revealing our concept of happiness and permitting it to take its natural place. The mission of the book is to assist in this process. Finding what makes us happy requires that we achieve knowledge of who we are and of what we want. It requires us to be mindful of our wishes, our needs, our personality. Once we understand our motivations, we must arrange and implement them to their best effect in relation to one another, our capacities, other humans, and our nonhuman environment. The book supports us in gaining these insights and in the resulting tasks.

The book further examines how much happiness we can expect to obtain even under the best circumstances. It describes external and internal constraints that threaten our achievements. But it also shows perspectives that may enable us to conquer limitations. Thus, we may not only gain clarity about our happiness but also confidence in its pursuit.

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