Date of Award
This thesis is not intended for those who regard practical problems as something to be talked about. It is not for those who believe that every question has an objective, absolute, or interpretable answer. It is not intended for the individual who knows what happiness is, in that the very definition of happiness is not to be found; at best only suggested. It is not intended solely for Eastern thought. It is not intended solely for Western thought - it is intended for both. Most importantly, this thesis attempts to exclude the esoteric language common in the philosophical discipline. Arthur Schopenhauer once said that one should use common words to say uncommon things. This thesis is intended for both the common and the uncommon reader, as is the subject - Happiness. Simply stated, this thesis is an exploration into why the contemporary notion of how one should best pursue happiness is flawed. This exploration shall encompass a vast array of subjects, many now far departed from the philosophical tradition. In by neglecting these deeper, sometimes more intimate forms of inquiry, is to waste a central resource for the study of philosophy; let alone a study on happiness. From this, I take a particular interest in culture. And, regarding America's contemporary culture, I hold, that we make a distinction between behaviors that bring true happiness and behaviors that only make you feel happy. For this reason, my thesis is as followed: The 21st century’s primary conflict is not the poverty in plenty but the unhappiness brought in the pursuit of pleasure by most. I hold that the current American model of what brings happiness is in direct contradiction to what it takes for actually being happy. In short, there is ongoing contradiction between restraint and freedom, between adversity and fulfillment, and between the individual and the whole. We pursued freedom but we now live in a world that is more monitored, and more subjected to a network of small complicated rules that strangle freedom. We pursued happiness and it leads to resentment, it leads to pathological disease, and it leads to even more unhappiness. We pursed happiness within, and forget that happiness is only real when shared. In sum, my attempt is to elucidate the themes, problems, and contradictions within today’s pursuit disclosed on the - Horizon of Happiness.
Gilbert, Benjamin D., "The Horizon of Happiness" (2012). Senior Honors Theses. 14.