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Nov 28

Fortune shines on you when you’re happy. And this is the case in many European languages: in Icelandic, heppinn means “happy” or “lucky”, and the Scots happin means “fortunate” or “blessed”. It is a striking fact that in every Indo-European language, without exception, going all the way back to ancient Greek, the word for happiness is a cognate with the word for luck. For most of these Classical philosophers, happiness is never simply a function of good feeling—of what puts a smile on our face—but rather of living good lives, lives that will almost certainly include a good deal of pain. For a good many ancient peoples—and for many others long after that—happiness was not something you could control. It is measured in lifetimes, not moments. . As the monk in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales declares: And thus does Fortune's wheel turn treacherously And out of happiness bring men to sorrow. That sounds ludicrous to us today—and perhaps it is—but it very nicely captures the way the ancients thought of happiness, not as an emotional state but as an outcome of moral comportment. Definition of happiness. Happy landings is a toast used among aviators. Under Biden, We’ll Still Need to Protect Social Security, It’s True That Corporate Media Is Biased – But Not in the Ways Right-Wingers Say, The Catholic Church Is Responding to Indigenous Protest With Exorcisms, Hundreds of Thousands of Students Traveled Home This Week Amid COVID Spike, Noam Chomsky: Trump Has Revealed the Extreme Fragility of American Democracy, Trump Is on a Death Row Killing Spree and Wants to Make Firing Squads Possible, how we order ourselves and our lives as a whole. Happy hour is possibly a naval term, but those two words together — meaning a happy time for entertainment — goes back centuries…, “Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour That may give furtherance to our expedition . Happy families, the traditional card game, was devised by John Jaques II before the Great Exhibition of 1851. Or happy someone today. without a certain degree of effort, and possibly even sacrifice and pain. But there is a dark side to this vision of happiness as well, one that may help explain why so many of us are snapping up books about happiness and coming to happiness conferences, searching for an emotion that we worry is absent from our lives. It seems that when we want to be happy all of the time, we can forget that the pursuit of happiness can entail struggle, sacrifice, even pain. It wasn't a sin to enjoy our bodies, his contemporaries began to argue. We should be happy. I would argue that it continues to lie behind some of our most noble humanitarian sentiments—the belief that suffering is inherently wrong, and that all people, in all places, should have the opportunity, the right, to be happy. This new orientation towards happiness was, as I say, liberating in many respects. Phrase greatest happiness for the greatest number was in Francis Hutcheson (1725) but later was associated with Bentham. We’ll send you the top news, analysis and commentary from Truthout’s reporters and leading progressive thinkers, as well as the best reprints from other independent news sources. 'Hap' is the Old Norse and Old English root of happiness, and it just means luck or chance, as did the Old French 'heur', giving us 'bonheur', good fortune or happiness. Dating back to the late 14th century, the word happy first meant “lucky” — and a little later, “blessed”: it comes from the Middle English hap, meaning “chance”, “luck”, or “fortune”. Before COVID-19 hit, we were hoping to grow a little this year and expand our coverage. .” People prior to the late 17th century thought happiness was a matter of luck or virtue or divine favor. Get the latest news and thought-provoking analysis from Truthout. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about feeling good. There were, of course, other ways of thinking about happiness. It can be found in the past in a lost Golden Age, in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were perfectly content. Happiness, literally, was what happened to us, and that was ultimately out of our hands. 1 a : a state of well-being and contentment : joy. These are things that the older traditions knew—in the West and the East alike—and that we have forgotten. Nor should we assume that happiness can be had (maybe a better word?) Now we're working to survive. — King Henry, Shakespeare’s King Henry V, Your email address will not be published. Today we think of happiness as a right and a skill that can be developed. After the Greek and Roman traditions, we have Jewish and Christian ideas about happiness. Does that mean that I’m unnatural? This is not a democratic conception of happiness. Will you donate today to keep Truthout online?. On the contrary, we should work to increase them. Every dollar makes a difference — just give what you can! Oxford: Oxford University Press, ... Hedonic treadmill. Will you help us continue our work by making a monthly or one-time donation today? In their view, happiness could be earned, a perspective that anticipates our modern one. Given these presuppositions, the ancients tended to agree that very few would ever succeed in being happy, because happiness takes an incredible amount of work, discipline, and devotion, and most people, in the end, are simply not up to the task. But there have been downsides as well. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, happy used to be a transitive verb meaning “to make happy”. Starting in Locke's time, men and women in the West dared to think of happiness as something more than a divine gift, less fortuitous than fortune, less exalted than a millenarian dream. Your email address will not be published. During World War II and afterwards it was used as a suffix (as in bomb-happy, flak-happy) to mean “dazed or frazzled from stress.” Happy medium is from 1778. The happy are what Aristotle calls “happy few.” They are, if you like, the ethical elite. When it comes to waging war, stripping basic rights, election fraud, or a global health crisis, you deserve the truth. In other words, the wheel of fortune controls our happenstance, and hence our happiness. In I. Boniwell & S. Davis (Eds. Is there something wrong with the society in which I live? For the first time in human history, comparatively large numbers of people were exposed to the novel prospect that they might not have to suffer as an unfailing law of the universe, that they could—and should—expect happiness in the form of good feeling, and pleasure as a right of existence. We can be happy, we tell ourselves, teeth gritted. Our daily email newsletter will keep you up to date. Old English had eadig (from ead "wealth, riches") and gesælig, which has become silly. “Happy” the describing word comes up in the late 14 th century meaning, “lucky, favored by fortune, prosperous;” of events, “turning out well,” from “hap” (see earlier) “chance, fortune” + “y”. We should maximize the one and minimize the other, yielding the greatest happiness for the greatest number. What if I'm not happy? Our fundraiser is nearly over but donations have slowed down. Dating back to the late 14th century, the word happy first meant “lucky” — and a little later, “blessed”: it comes from the Middle English hap, meaning “chance”, “luck”, or “fortune”. On the following pages we explore the ideas of major thinkers, from East and West, who devoted much … happy (adj.) This is the opposite of today’s egalitarian, feel-good-now conception of happiness. Sense of "very glad" first recorded late 14c. In the prevailing Christian understanding, happiness can occur in one of three circumstances. It is in this time that the French Encyclopédie, the Bible of the European Enlightenment, declares in its article on happiness that everyone has a right to be happy. McMahon, D. M. "The pursuit of happiness in history." On the contrary, it is an exalted condition, reserved for the elect in a time outside of time, at the end of history. Strictly speaking, this is the happiness of death. This has been liberating, in some respects, because it asks us to strive to improve our lots in life, individually and collectively. When the English philosopher and revolutionary John Locke declared at the end of the 17th century that the “business of man is to be happy,” he meant that we shouldn't assume that suffering is our natural lot, and that we shouldn't have to apologize for our pleasures here on earth. These are all symptoms of a condition that I call the unhappiness of not being happy, and it is a peculiarly modern condition. This is a difficult time for media orgs and donations to Truthout are down. Happy hunting ground, the reputed Indian paradise, is attested from 1840 in American English. The psychological and philosophical pursuit of happiness began in China, India and Greece nearly 2,500 years ago with Confucius, Buddha, Socrates, and Aristotle.

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