Thursday, December 11, 2008

Solzhenitsyn, Happiness, and the "Free" Market

"One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to."
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

This sentiment has been ringing in my ears since hearing it on the Writers Almanac this morning.
Can we not define happiness as the feeling affection for each other generates?
Liberty - Liberal - Sovereignty - Freedom - all defined as we go, why not happiness?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why not happiness? It is one of the hardest things to define as what makes a person happy and what defines a happy life are two separate issues. A wide range of answers are available dating back to Aristotle, Socrates and Epicurus. If you are attempting to define happiness simply as the feeling affection for each other generates, you are defining one aspect of what may make someone happy but are not defining the core of what happiness involves. Does a universal definition exist?

Theodore J. Glendinning II said...

Happiness. What is happiness? To me, happiness is having whatever makes you happy. But also, happiness can also be immoral. Morality is what it means to most. Do good, live by certain ethics, etc.; without encroaching on others. However, to obtain happiness, the majority will tell individuals or society as a whole to act accordingly, in a moral fashion. In turn, what that allows is the formation of larger gaps, for exploiters to move easily about the system, corrupting, doing whatever it takes to obtain their happiness.

I miss the shame societies of Greece.