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Personal Happiness and the Happiness of Others

Personal Happiness and the Happiness of Others

Human happiness is one of the greatest mysteries of mankind. Everyone strives to be happy, and if it is impossible, they either convince themselves and others that they are happy or believe that there is no happiness in nature. Thus, it creates confusion when unhappy people teach the others how to become happy based on their experience. One might say that the secret of happiness is in money, while another might state that the essence of happiness is in glory. Everyone wants to find the secret of happiness for themselves, but not all are able to do it. Not only personal happiness but also happiness of others is of great interest. The question of how to make other people happy was and will always be relevant since, firstly, the question arises the problem of validity of the desire, and, secondly, the problem of how it can be done given that the concept of happiness is purely individual.

I think that one of the answers to the first question can be found in rational egoism, which tries to answer the question concerning one’s need to make other people happy. From my point of view, rational egoism can be seen as an ethical approach, which implies that:

1) All human actions are based on selfish motives (desires for welfare to oneself);

2) The mind allows one to select from the total volume the motives that make one properly understand self-interest, i.e. discover the nucleus of those selfish motivations that match the rational nature of a man and the social nature of their life.

The first of the possible consequences of this operation becomes an ethical and regulatory program. The program while maintaining a single (selfish) basis of a behavior suggests that not only the consideration of other individuals’ desires but also the commitment of actions consciously directed to the common good (including deeds, sacrifice, etc.) is ethically required. According to the approach, a personal interest, aimed at obtaining pleasure, requires proper understanding and can be implemented nly according to the regulatory requirement, stating that one needs to learn to enjoy the benefits of other people. I believe that morality should be based on a sense of personal satisfaction from meeting the needs of others. Since happiness of “I” (personal happiness) presupposes satisfaction of “You”, the pursuit of happiness, as the most powerful motive, is able to withstand even self-preservation. Ethics is not only the ethics of duty and goodwill but also the ethics of happiness. Good strives for happiness, while evil is a denial of the pursuit of happiness.

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The pursuit of happiness by emotional person appears as a social phenomenon since human sensuality is first sensual perception of another person. Thus, the need to care for the welfare and happiness of others can be justified at least by the fact that it is a prerequisite for personal happiness. If people want to be happy, then the task of each person is to make other people happy. In addition, good deeds committed towards other people bring a sense of moral satisfaction. As noted by Layard (2005), “people who care about other people are on average happier than those who are more preoccupied with themselves.” I must say that my approach resonates with the theory of rational egoism, known since ancient times. In particular, in antiquity, the birth of the theory of rational egoism has a secondary role in ethics. The reception of ancient ideas in the Renaissance (primarily epicurean position with its emphasis on the pursuit of pleasure) had transformed the main idea of the theory of rational self-interest into a fully-fledged ethical theory. The theory of rational self-interest received the great development in the works by a German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach tried to consider selfish moral actions (primarily self-sacrifice) using the theory of rational egoism of an individual.

Once one understands why it makes sense to think of the happiness of others, the second question concerning the posssibility of understanding what actions can bring happiness arises. Moreover, it becomes unclear what happiness is and what its features are. I think that happiness is a state of mind and soul. It is the way one feels. Happiness is not what one has, how much one earns, or people around a person. One playing with their child is happy, while another thinks about problems and is angry. One is encouraged at work since they enjoy it, while their colleague suffers, doing the same. It is crucial to consider this state of mind in detail since a person may have a lot of different good states, but not all of them can be seen as happiness. My personal experience gives me the opportunity to speak of three distinctive features of happiness, namely positivity, consistency, and strength.

1. Positivity. It means that happiness is a positive state; it is bright joy. All kinds of ridicule and the joy of any negatives have nothing to do with happiness. I think that an evil man cannot be happy. A person experiences light and positive joy because not only they feel good but also other people have the same positive state.

   

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2. Constancy. If it simple and clear with positivity, it is necessary to dwell on here. Happiness is a permanent condition. It may be stronger or weaker, but it is always present as silent and quiet joy. One was told an anecdote, and they started laughing, but this is a surge of joy and the emotion, which appeared and then disappeared. A deeply unhappy man can also laugh at jokes. Happiness is ever-present joy. It means that the sources of this joy are also constant. These sources do not depend on the situation, events, and people since these factors are not permanent. Permanent sources are the answers to life’s questions (“Who am I?”, “For the sake of what do I live?”, and similar questions), the belief in oneself, vital principles, dignity, and others. They are worthy goals in life and, at the same time, constant positive activities.

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