Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Internal Sensation of Happiness

I became conscious of an overwhelming feeling of happiness while exercising the other day. Puzzled I decided I’d have to check this happiness-business out.

Happiness can be defined as emotions experienced when in a state of well being.

People often show that they are happy by smiling.

There would be pleasures for the moment, and a more static happiness.

Defining happiness - Try define "green" to a blind person! Internal experiences are subjective by nature.

Non human animals are happy when they have achieved a goal concerned with the motivational system of the organism. It would be the satisfaction in doing something deliberately to achieve these goals – repeating actions of success. So - only animals with the ability to learn, should be able to feel happiness. (Scratching an itch would be enough though) (Talk about short term happiness!!)

Of all the animals, only man can sit and contemplate reality. Aristotele would say this would make him happy, in the same way as it would make a bird happy to fly, or a fish happy to swim.

Zhuangzi would say though, that mans ability to distinguish between things and form dichotomies, would make him unable to find true happiness, as all would be divided into things to like and not to like.

Now, what about my feelings of happiness. Zhuangzi might be right, but I think I’ll spurn his ideas. If we cannot possibly experience true happiness, we cannot know what it is, and why contemplate the unachievable. Aristotele’s down-to-earth theories has always attracted me in their simplicity. My happiness at exhausting myself would, I reckon, fall into the category of had I been a bird flying this would have made me happy. And now here I am still happy contemplating it. Humans certainly have the best of two worlds. That’s cool.

Look! Footnotes! : 20050528 20060528

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