Essay: Philosophy of Happiness Are There Some Desires

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Philosophy of Happiness

Are there some desires that we ought not to have in order to be happy? Moreover, if so, can we eliminate such desires and make ourselves happier?

Humans engage in a range of activities that make them feel happy and try to shun those that neither bring happiness nor make them feel appreciated. The desires that people do not necessarily require to become happy or maintain the state of happiness for considerable period are myriad. A strong pursuit to achieving such desires would eventually do the person more harm than good in the end (Furness & Gilligan 2010). The proponents of Hedonism led by Epicurus acknowledged the significance of pleasure beyond the stereotypical notion. In their view, the most pleasant lifestyle is one in which a person abstain from the unnecessary pleasures but strive to accomplish an inner tranquility. The theory of hedonism would encourage the need for people and a society in general to be content with simple things that may sometimes draw so much attention though fundamental toward achieving some of the important goals of life. It is high time people reviewed their desires, dreams, and ambitions in order to make their desires and lifestyles more feasible in the wake of various social, economic, and cultural changes in the narrow prospect and the world at large (Furness & Gilligan 2010).

Philosophical conversations with friends on achieving physical pleasures would be critical even as societies continue experience enormous challenges while trying to keep the desires of people more practicable and doable in the wake of technological advancements. Individuals should mainly engage in those activities and desires that tend to underpin the physical pleasures such as food, drink, and sex (Nussbaum 2009). Focus is fast shifting to looking at ways of minimizing the unnecessary as well as redundant desires and paying attention to the essential factors that would help achieve descent living in addition to addressing the various challenges that affect people's happiness in society. Two significant beliefs make lives of most people worthless and full of pain. The self-imposed beliefs include fear of facing punishment of the gods for bad actions and the strange fear revolving around death. Many people find the first belief scary to the extent that it hampers ability to exploit and experiment all pleasures of the world as well as individual desires even as modern societies emphasize democracy and egalitarianism. The two beliefs derive their basis on mere fiction hence are completely unnecessary (Nussbaum 2009).

Even as people from different parts of the world put more effort toward realization of their desires and those of their countries, it is imperative to reiterate the importance of putting more focus on the collective desires that seek to change the entire society. Hence, individuals must compromise their selfish desires for the sake of cohesiveness and equality in terms of universal desires and fundamental goals of the society apart from individual interests (Nussbaum 2009). Although societies must appreciate the existence of gods, they do not directly concern themselves with the desires or activities that people engage in for the sake of social, cultural, or economic gains. The fear of death is groundless just like the fear of facing heavy penalties from the gods due to people's undesirable actions totally uncalled for by all standards. Apprehensions and panic emanating from human perception of death or bad actions would definitely result to unhappiness. Living in fear is never a desirable trait or attribute because it compromises the capacity to explore and experiment all pleasures of life (Nussbaum 2009). The desire to eliminate bodily pain or a state of inner tranquility is one of the necessary desires whose ultimate outcome is happiness. The individual, in essence, should build a mindset in which there is no pain to attain a neutral state of mind or peace of mind. The society should also turn away from the external conditions because they play limited role in making one happy. Factors such as income, good looks, marriage, and winning a lottery have smaller impact as far as lasting happiness of an individual or society is concerned.

In the wake of globalization, communities, states, and countries are awash with an array of technological advancements whose outcome is bliss and ecstasy. As new and more advanced inventions and innovations found their way into the market, the previously once considered world most desirable inventions become less attractive hence elicit less happiness or contentment. Other unnecessary desires, which would result into little or no happiness, include desiring a bigger car or a more luxurious meal. Apparently, purchasing a bigger car has a bearing on the individual's state of mind or perception about others. It might even cause happiness in the short-term. However, financial constraints would draw out happiness as the individual fails to gunner sufficient amount to purchase. Unhappiness might feature prominently in a scenario whereby the person is unable to raise enough cash to service a bank loan even after successfully purchasing his or her dream car. Happiness is a public affair as a group of like-minded people easily come together to help each other in pursuit of happiness (Reeve 2006).

Eliminating such desires and making ourselves happier

Individuals can easily eliminate some of these desires. However, it might take much longer for the same individual to get rid of other desires. The bottom line would remain that both of these desires do not help achieve his or her primary, which is to be happy. Even as contemporary societies grapple with various economic, social, and political challenges, any attempts to overlook at aspects that trigger happiness or sadness among individuals or groups. Societies have come up with mechanisms that would help achieve both short-term and long-term goals even though may not reflect on the level of happiness among subjects (Reeve 2006). Many people work round the clock to accomplish the best nuptials, always recording a win in the lottery, or earning huge sums of money in formal employment or other business ventures. These ventures would only translate to short-term or temporary happiness. In the end, situations such as divorce, separation, retrenchment or sackings at work place, or poor health might just make the individual lead a dejected and stressful existence (Reeve 2006). Although society has equal share of blame for the state of unhappiness among the people, individual desires are mainly responsible for the various challenges that lead to devastation, desperation, and hopelessness. A person's desire to purchase a bigger car, a luxurious meal, or palatial home despite experiencing a strained budget is just far-fetched dreams. It is high time individuals as well as groups reexamined the expediency or feasibility of their ambitions. Otherwise, certain desires or aspirations may only contribute to a more complex and disturbed mind owing to the kind of economic, social, and psychological torture one would go through. Failure to realize such dreams will only amount to devastation and unhappiness (Reeve 2006).

2. Does increased religiosity influence increased happiness? What, if any, implications might this have for our reasons to adopt religious belief?

Religion plays significant role to ensure that people go about their endeavors and ventures in accordance with the religious teachings. Different religious groups across the globe take into consideration the ethical and moral standards as compulsory requirements before taking part in certain activities linked to the religious group. In highly religious countries, appointments to various public positions largely depend on religiosity and adherence to doctrines associated with the religion (James 2008). In effect, people with sound religious background stand a better chance to secure a place in organizations that belong to or run according to the doctrine of given religion. Although every organizations has set its standards to ensure no elements of discrimination based on gender or religion dominate appointments, those fully in compliance with the doctrines would absolutely favor the die-hards or stanch believers. Increased religiosity, in essence, will increase happiness. Religion has the capacity to provide strong feeling of security. A strong belief in a higher power who keeps a look at everything that happen in the world can provide considerable comfort. It will not only simplify people's life but also diminish feelings of overwhelming and incomprehensible complexities (James 2008).

Region also plays critical role in finding solution to growing concern about lack of order and uncertainty. It may also reduce the fear of dying. Although death is an inevitable phenomenon, religiosity would tend to minimize the fear of dying from some of the terminal diseases such as cancer, sickle-cell anemia, and HIV / AIDS among other illnesses. Religion proposes a divine healing that supersedes the ability or power of modern medication or even the traditional herbal medicines. The belief about the devil being responsible for the various illnesses and misfortunes affecting lives of humans has influenced people's choice to seek divine intervention instead of visiting health care facilities (Reeve 2006). The power of the Supreme Being over every phenomenon that affects life of human positively or negatively is beneficial to happiness. Religion informs believers that God… [END OF PREVIEW]

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