Perspectives of Happiness towards the Greatness of Society
chapter, all the cited studies and literatures that are related to the study of
happiness will be briefly introduced and discussed throughout this chapter and
also serves as a guide for the researchers in developing the paper.
all have our own perceptions when looking at the world. Like on how we define
happiness. We do not really have the exact definition of happiness but we
define happiness as a positive emotion when we feel love, affection-contented,
gratification and so on. But if we base on biblical and scientificallydefinition
of happiness, we can broaden our knowledge in terms of defining happiness.
According to Tim J. Keller who is an American pastor,
Theologian and Christian apologist, He illustrate in his sermon, “The search
for Happiness”. We must desire to be concerned about God than our own
happiness. The more Happiness we experience – especially on the inside the more
our lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Happiness is not found in external
circumstances, it means that seeking the true joy that only God can give.1
Here is the irony: the less you’re concerned about
your happiness and the more you’re concerned about him (God), the happier you
get. This is not a trick. You can’t say, ‘Oh, great. I have it. I come to God,
and I say this and this and this.’ You cannot bandy with the omnipotent and
omniscient Lord of the universe. ‘Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.
Aim at earth and you get neither.2
Meike Bartels and Phillip Koellinger professors at
Amsterdam found out the three genetic variations for happiness. Happiness might
be on our DNA. It is how this world works, how we exert so much effort and in
return we can take what we invest. According to Bartels, happiness is both
environmental and genetic factors. People are differently genetically.
Furthermore, happiness is very complex it is a choice that anyone can make.
Cultivating thankfulness and gratitude is a scientifically-backed way to
increase happiness, and it’s firmly within your control to choose to be more
Research has demonstrated that differences in DNA
methylation are related to happiness. This means it is not just the genes and
not just the environment, but an interaction between these two that is
responsible for the feeling of happiness.4
Nietzsche and Callicles
on Happiness and Pleasure
Urstad discussed about the similarities
of Happiness and Pleasure according to Nietzsche and Callicles. Urstad said
that there is a little doubt in Nietzsche’s famous doctrines that was inspired
by the character named Callicles in Plato’s book-Gorgias. According to Nietzsche, pleasure is known as a “particular sensation marked by the absence
of any pain or discomfort”5Pleasure
cannot be separated from pain, they are like twins, you cannot have pleasure
without pain and vice versa. Nietzsche states that pleasure in pain are “so knotted together that whoever wants as
much as possible of the one, must also have as much as possible of the other.”6
Far from discouraging, or a recipe for
misery, Nietzsche thinks this “play of resistance and victory”, this overcoming
of moments of pain and suffering, is how the feeling of joy (Lust) is attained. Joy, for him, seems
to be closely akin to happiness, it is the conscious state of being man
ultimately desires.5 What is important to see about Nietzsche’s conception of
joy or happiness is not only that it contains a component of pain (“in all joy
pain is included”7),
but that it is intimately bound up with the notion of power.8
now discuss Callicle’s perspective on pleasure, he does not believe that
pleasure is free from pain or difficult work or effort. Callicles’ subsequent endorsement indicates
that he upholds a remedial or replenishment conception of pleasure, one which
involves the assuaging of a pain or the filling of a lack. Pleasure (drinking),
in other words, entails the acceptance of distress (thirst), since the pleasure
is proportional to the magnitude of the lack that is being replenished.But, for
Callicles, pleasure is not only connected to the experience of pain at the
conceptual level of desire-satisfaction. He also takes pain or distress as part
and parcel of his conception of the happy life. 9
Adam Barkman’s article he sees Negative Happiness is an absence of suffering in
that we can simply understand that it is an incomplete understanding of
happiness. In his article there are two philosophers that talks about negative
happiness. First is Buddha’s philosophy state that negative happiness is an
escape route for suffering or truth. While Epicurus’ philosophy tells us that
virtue is the end of happiness because it’s tolerating treat people for being a
source of one’s happiness. Adam Barkman says that negative happiness is
connected with strong desires. In which he/she have done a bad deed to
experience happiness. He also states that the law of karma interconnects all
things. Both Adam Barkman’s philosophers emphasized that suffering is a great
evil but neither of them provide sensible information about true happiness,
since true happiness is a form of positive happiness, which insist that not
only the goodness of pleasures but there are also two factors. First, happiness
is found substantial, enduring things and can only be attained by a
substantial, enduring self. Buddha’s denial on substantial reality hinders
Buddhism from the quest for true happiness. On the other hand, Epicurus agreed
that there is substantial reality. He states that happiness requires something
like Platonic-Christian conception of the self. Second, happiness needs virtue
to be valued people’s own sake. Buddhism cannot maintain regards on virtue
while at the same time denying substantial reality because in the end they
follow their own assumption. While, Epicurus admits that virtue is merely means
to end happiness because it’s tolerating to treat people as a source of one’s
happiness. About positive and negative happiness, we can say positive happiness
sees true happiness while negative happiness sees true happiness in avoidance
of suffering. Also negative happiness is an incompletely understanding towards
False Prediction of Happiness
Sean Stephenson quoted that “never believe a
prediction that does not empower you”11,
like in our modern society they tend to foresee on what they want to happen in
the future but in the end, it will not be as accurate as they predicted.
Somehow, predicting may lead us to our happiness because we are imagining what
we want to happen.
Daniel Gilbert wrote a book, “Stumbling on
Happiness”. This book started with the common questions that most people asks
themselves. There are three main conclusions of this book. First is, when we
imagine our state of mind, key details may be added or missing without us
realizing it. Very often, it is those details that ultimately make us happy.
The second is, when we imagine the future or recalling the past, it is far less
imaginative than we think. Our mental picture will be very much like the
present and our “imagined” feelings will be strongly influenced by the current
state of mind. The last is, when events happen, we view it far differently than
before it had happened. Our psychological “immune system” will distort our
perception of major psychological events to help shield us from undesirable
According to Gilbert, the happiness that he/she is
feeling right now is different from the happiness that he/she felt before. Our
memory is to blame because we cannot identify the differences between the present
and past happiness. He also said that it is possible to measure happiness if we
accept three premises. First is “measurement will not be perfect, but it’s
better than nothing” second, “the honest, real-time report of the individual is
the least flawed” and lastly, “imperfections can be detected and their effect
reduced through the law of large numbers”. 13
Still, due to the subjectivity of happiness it will likely be impossible to
measure happiness but comparing is not the problem, because if there are two
person who are said to be happy it only differ on how they respond to their
feeling of happiness.
Happiness and Human Virtue
can say that we are happy in our life because of our friends, family and things
that make us happy, but did you realize that happiness can be found even if
there is no other make you feel happy? We do not need to stay for that
happiness that because time passing by. We need to stand in our own feet, they
are not always there for you to make you happy you will need to find a way to
make a reason to become happy like your hobbies or other things that you can do
to make you feel happy. That happiness is only a normal happiness that need
some conditional things to make he/she happy like having a good life, good
friends, he/she have many money in the bank that is the reason he/she is happy.
If that is reason why he/she is happy what if those things will disappear
his/her happiness will be disappear too, so that we need to pursuit in normal
happiness. We will seek the true happiness and why we need to seek this because
true happiness is an independent in our life situation not like normal
happiness that you need some companion or certain things but the real thing is
how can we get or where can we find the true happiness that we need in our life
without the ideal things. True happiness describes deep sense of inner
well-being, peace and vitality that he/she need to do to experience the true
happiness.People experiencing this kind of happiness does not mean that they
cannot feel anger, sadness, and fear, to experience this kind of happiness
he/she need to change his/her perspective in his/her life, like appreciate
The Greatness of Society
We think for Hume, morality is based on how
society think if what is good or not and morality breeds intolerance. After
all, if something is morally wrong to do, then we ought not to tolerate its
being done. Living morally requires denying the darkness. Indeed, getting
morality right may be as daunting a task as understanding the physical nature
of the universe itself. And if u do some vices everyone can judge u because
they care about our society and Hume observe that “No person is
indifferent to the happiness or misery of others” because they both
have/had experiences. They/we can only have to do is accept and agree on what
they feel on their life experiences because we cannot control the life of
anyone or you can not intrude their lives.15
Greater Good from an individual
As we all know, common good is the benefit that each
of an individual lend an effort and to be achieved. But, according to the
article wrote by Kristi and Tom Dinell “the common good is not a single
project, product, or policy. Rather, it is a perspective, a way of looking at
proposed actions or a vision for future proposals.”16.
Therefore, common good is for mass or a large group of a society in which doing
what is proposed is where they will benefit from. “It necessitates a degree of
civility all too absent in this age of social media and demands listening and
learning from each other to better envision how we are all the “common” and
together responsible for the “good.””17 .
Each of individuals are the same for one objective which is being responsible
for achieving the good.
Good for the Greatest Number 18
You probably have heard about heroism of our national
heroes who risk their lives for their country the Philippines just to gain
freedom from our former colonizers. And maybe you have heard about some people
who justify their actions because it was for the greater good. In this part, we
will tackle about the philosophy behind such actions. This is also known as
utilitarianism. Philosophers refer to it as a “teleological” system. The Greek
word “telos” means end or goal. This means that this ethical system determines
morality by the end result, unlike with the Christian ethics which are based on
Utilitarianism began with the philosophies of Jeremy
Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). 20
Bentham developed the idea of a utility and a utilitarian calculus in the Introduction to the Principles of Morals and
In the beginning of
that work, Bentham wrote:
placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and
pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to
determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on
the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They
govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can
make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm
Bentham believed that pain and pleasure define what is
good and moral and it also can explain our actions. The greatest good for the
greatest number is the principle of utility and it is the key for his ethical
Bentham also wrote:
“By the principle of utility is
meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever,
according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the
happiness of the party whose interest is in question: or, what is the same
thing in other words, to promote or to oppose that happiness.”24
Bentham’s ethical system is mostly about the idea of pleasure. He built it with
a hedonistic foundation which pursues physical pleasure and avoids physical
pain. According to him, the most moral acts are those which maximize pleasure
and minimize pain. This is sometimes been called the “utilitarian calculus.” An
act would be moral if it brings the greatest amount of pleasure and the least
amount of pain.25
But John Stuart Mill modified Bentham’s philosophy and
developed it apart from Bentham’s hedonistic foundation. Mill used the same
utilitarian calculus but instead, he focused on maximizing the general
happiness by calculating the greatest good for the greatest number. Mill used
this calculus in a qualitative sense unlike Bentham who uses it in a
quantitative sense. For him, some pleasures were of higher quality than others.
to Mill, to calculate what is right, it is necessary to compare the
consequences of any action to be done. If the results brought negative effects
to many, then it is not right. It can only be considered as right if all
benefits from it.
became so popular because it has a good deal of sense and seems and simple to
apply. It focused on results rather than rules. So, if the result is accepted
by many, but not in a bad way there is no need to focus too much on the rules.
But remember, even if you have a good intention and you do it in bad way, there
is no good in it. Like the story of Robinhood. He steals from the nobles or
elites and gives them to the poor. Although he has good
intention to help the poor, he did it in a bad way so it is not considered
greatest good for the greatest number. So it is important to have a good
intention and right means to do it so that all will benefit and you can
consider that as the greatest good for the greatest number.
in Great Society
we the researchers conclude that the greatness of a society greatly affects
one’s happiness. There are lots of way that can connect of being grateful in
our society to have happiness in our life. All people can be happy by helping
https://tifwe.org/biblical-definition-of-happiness/. 8 August 2016
3Darius Foroux.https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-be-happy-a-scientific-perspective-67c5812de79a. 10 July 2017.
10 July 2017.
5Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth
of Tragedy, trans. by Walter Kaufmann, in Basic Writings of Nietzsche (New
York: Modern Library, 2000), 7.
7Nietzsche, Will to Power, 658; see also Thus
Spoke Zarathustra, trans. by Walter Kaufmann, in The Portable Nietzsche (New York: Penguin Books, 1976), IV 19.
8Nietzsche, Will to Power, 688; Daybreak,
trans. by R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 113;
On the Genealogy of Morals, trans. by
Walter Kaufmann, in Basic Writings of
Nietzsche (New York: Modern Library, 2000), III 10.
Nietzsche and Callicles on Happiness, Pleasure, and Power in http://www.kritike.org/journal/issue_8/urstad_december2010.pdf
10Adam Barkman. Negative Happiness. Article,
Volume 3, Number 1, 72-77.
12Daniel Gilbert. Stumbling on Happiness. Knopf.
13Daniel Gilbert. Stumbling on Happiness. Knopf.
16Kristi Dinell and Tom Dinell, “The common good perspective”, http://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201705/common-good-perspective-31010. Accessed: January 25, 2018.
18 Anderson, K. Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number.
2004. Also available at
22 Bentham, J. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation,
printed in 1781 and published in 1789 (Batoche Books: Kitchener, ON Canada,
Anderson, K. Utilitarianism: The Greatest
Good for the Greatest Number.
24 Bentham, J. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation.
25 Anderson, K. Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number.