What is Happiness?

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Epictetus was a Roman slave who grew up to become a philosopher. He began studying philosophy at a young age and went on to become a lecturer in Rome. Following Emperor Domitian's banishment of philosophers, Epictetus was forced to leave Italy. He founded a philosophy school in Nicopolis, where he lectured and taught until his death in 135 CE. He was known as a stoic philosopher who preached that external circumstances were out of one's control. His teachings were later published in the Discourses and handbooks by his student Arrian. Epictetus concluded that humans live in a fair world and should therefore exercise caution in their everyday activities. He refers to the significant efficiency of all things, or the necessary objective guidelines of the world, like Zeus, God, or the divine beings.

As stated earlier, Epictetus was born as a slave hence a common criticism of him telling people to accept the position they find themselves in life. Despite overcoming slavery, Epictetus placed his emphasis on the practicability of stoicism which mainly based its arguments on varied situations humans find themselves. Epictetus thus poses excellent exaggeration on how these events are under our control (From the Handbook 740). We consequently fail in life because we cannot distinguish between the things that are under our control and those that are not. Events like judgment, intentions, and desires constitute to things within our control.

Presently the issue is obvious. The indirect connections include circumstances of partial impacts. My activities cause a social result, they don't do it alone, and only by preferring something, I can't change community to favor me. However, my activities do, when joined with the actions of numerous other individuals, constitute a difference in the public scene. My issue with Epictetus is therefore that he would appear to advocate a kind of calmness. In these situations where the causation is faint or extremely halfway. He directs that I ought to acknowledge whatever happens, and not endeavor to influence things (Chapter 28 741). Concerning humanity, the ability to select is their essential characteristic, the embodiment of their tendency. The guideline of circumstances and results works in nature, yet our choices are free of outside impulse. Subsequently, Epictetus would today be known as a compatibilist; he trusts that flexibility and determinism are good. In particular, he believes that our feelings, states of mind, expectations, and activities are our own. Presumably, these feelings got to a great extent from his encounters as a slave, where he was constrained to do numerous things however allowed to have an independent perspective of his thoughts.

Epictetus strongly condemns fear of death by claiming that we have created our idea of fear. He argues that individuals should not blame others for their misfortunes but rather their false opinions on an issue (Chapter 28 741). Epictetus gives an example of an uneducated individual who blames others for their troubles, an individual beginning his education blaming himself and an educated person neither blaming himself or others. He further states that it is the thought of death that causes hardship and not death itself. Since all humans are mortal, individuals should view death as an inevitable thing that is bound to happen to everyone.

“Sickness impedes the body but not the ability to make choices..." is a wrong presumption since there exists mental illness that hampers a person's way of thinking. Sickness may also cause a person to be distressed causing him to make uninformed decisions that may lead to harm to another individual. Consequently, the body is a complex unit that needs all other sections of the body to be at their best for proper functioning.

One aspect that Epictetus portrays is the concern for ownership of pride by an individual. He gives an example of a horse owner and a handsome horse. He points out that its acceptable for the horse to be proud of its beauty but on the other hand questions the horse owner when he proclaims that he has a handsome horse (Chapter 28 741). As a general image in life, this situation prepares an individual to get credit for their qualities and features. An individual is only allowed to validate their success if they are entirely involved in it. It discourages the notion among individuals of to take pride to the good that is their own and not other people's successes.

The Happy Life

In the first paragraph, Bertrand Russell says, "The happy life is to an extraordinary extent the same as the good life?" (Russell 743). Bertrand Russell implies that life has varied meaning highly dependent on how you wish to live. Life has diverse functions, one reason for living is getting the best of it by enjoying it while you can (Russell 743). There are a few advantages and disadvantages of existence. Bertrand brings up the joy in life when you look after others and yourself. You don't need to be distant from everyone else and be invisible to others. In regards to taking care of others, this enables you to know another person and have a happy life. Indeed, life has a couple of knocks in it yet that is what makes it exciting.

The scope of Happiness affirms that we have much more impact over happiness than we know; that our joy does not rely upon estimations like status, riches or excellence, and that it is our essential obligation to guarantee our happiness and the pleasure of others.

Russell finally states that, by accepting being part of 'the stream of life.' An individual feels himself a native of the universe, getting a charge out of uninhibitedly the scene that it offers and the delights that it bears (Russell 744). On the other hand, a person that segregates himself from the rest is more likely to be depressed on occasions. This is because he/she does not find other things amusing or non-interesting. His happiness is therefore limited to his conscious. As for myself, I feel so connected to the world. This has created an invaluable source of happiness within myself and the people I interact with.

About Love

The need to be oneself is a formality highly valued by Crittenden. She explains the need to own up roles, expanding of one's character, building identities and realization of a character one desires (Crittenden 752). This not only boosts an individual's confidence but enhances happiness to an individual in the long-term. An individual, therefore, acquires self-satisfaction which further generates confidence in themselves whenever they are among other people. A fake owned character derails personal growth and diminishes commitment by a person who wants to succeed in life. A woman's nature can also be challenging when preparing to get into marriage with the involvement of personal characters and commitments. An individual doesn't perceive themselves to be ready for marriage because of the responsibilities that accompany a married couple. The parties are doubtful of their happiness prompting postponing of marriage plans to a later date.

We rarely hear how liberating marriage can be to married couples. Instead, individuals are full of doubt and misconception of their soon to be future partners (Crittenden 753). Marriage has become a corrupt institution that not only reduces happiness but also subjects parties to continued domestic problems and disputes.

Selections from Walden

According to Thoreau the main purpose of clothing is to maintain the vital body heat and secondly to cover nakedness (Thoreau 733). From ancient times expensive robes have been used by kings and other authoritative people to indicate royalty in certain regions. He fails to recognize fashion terming it as a waste vital energy and attention (Thoreau 735). Thoreau claims that the urge to embrace the latest fashion creates unnecessary anxiety among its users to would rather just wear clean and unpatched clothes. One of his most central ideas was that a person’s clothing is as valuable as the person wearing it.

Real life experiences and applications can help to understand Thoreau’s writing in detail. His use of real life examples invites the use of homely language to convey the truth and complete information on what he wants to pass to his audience. “We know but a few men, great many coats but breeches” (Thoreau 733) is a quote used by Thoreau to depict the existence of a few great men but many faulty individuals in great coats. He later compares the ordinary mean in great coats to scarecrows who are only dressed to represent human but are not human in the inside. On his statement on “If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes” (Thoreau 735), he meant that men only want to do things and nothing to do with things. Thoreau values old clothes compared to new ones as the old are considered to have served a greater man than new ones.

Our life is frittered away by detail (Thoreau 735) is a statement that is meant to explain the small differences that make a big difference in our lives. Paying attention to detail is most peoples’ preference as individuals seek ways to satisfy their minute desires of life. The modern human being is not bothered by the extra expenses that might be incurred to acquire certain services. The majorly care about the happiness and satisfaction they will get in the long run.


In the end everyone likes to do things that will make them happy or the people around them. We as a whole simply need to be happy. Regardless of whether that is accomplishing something you adore with somebody you love, getting a charge out of peacefulness, playing with your pet or everything in between, we should have the capacity to reflect and take a look at life. Every last bit of it, yours, mine, your family's, only life all in all and consider how much better it could be in the event that you simply attempted to appreciate a little organization and offer back to those you think about. Who knows, perhaps when you feel happier you'll make the world slightly more joyful also.

Works Cited

Crittenden, Danielle. What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the

Modern. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Epictetus, and Thomas W. Higginson. The Enchiridion. New York: Liberal Arts Press, 1955.


Russell, B. The conquest of happiness. London, England: Allen and Unwin. 1930. Print.

Thoreau, Henry David. Selections from Walden. Cricket Press, 1981.

September 21, 2021

World Life


Europe Learning Emotions

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Rome Student Happiness

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