Eudaimonia

A fine word to describe a certain kind of happiness that transcends what most people mean when they say ‘happiness’, or at least what I mean when I usually say it. It’s a Greek word, and sort of implies a happiness plus, a happiness that warms the cockles of the very centre of your being. A fulfilment that is the purpose of life to obtain.

How then do you obtain this marvellous subtance (or however you’d describe it)? Well if you listen to the Greeks (which would seem the logical thing to do; Greek word and all that) you’d get a lot about ‘virtue’ and ‘knowledge’ and such. Which is fair enough in theory, but then you remember the Greeks writing about it were philosophers and Greek philosophers at that and so had a rather inflated sense of what was ‘virtuous’ human behaviour.

By which I mean they rather shun material things like drinking, wild dancing and whatever else Ancient Greeks used to do for fun. These things will give amusement and ‘happiness’ but not the Eudaimonia they were going on about. Instead, higher pursuits like philosophy and poetry were supposed to be the building blocks upon which this sense of inner fulfilment or human flourishing was based on.

That, and virtue. Apparently if you were incredibly happy in the regular sense thanks to a life of ill gotten gains meaning you were up to your arse in designer togas, taut slaves and other such luxuries you may have been happy,  but you’d have no Eudaimonia.

This was where I started to go cross eyed and, if I gauge it right, it’s where you start to go to sleep.

Then later people like John Stewart Mill come in with their blather about ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ pleasures. Long story short, drinking fine imported brandy while sitting in a leather-bound chair discussing existentialism? Higher pleasure. Drinking whiskey from a musket-hole in the bottom of the bottle while your wife cracks the bartender around the face with a chair-leg? Lower pleasure.

I thought it seemed arbitrary, is all.

I was going to say more, but this has rolled on for long enough already. I may continue later, I may not, I’ll see how I feel. For now though, I may go back to bed.

I’m probably wrong anyway.

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