Happines and Contemplation
“Happiness is Contemplation” Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man s own will. In his book “Happiness and contemplation” Josef Pieper; reassures this statement. And, in a systematic way he devoutly presents, the tlrst halt ot his book to the examination ot happiness; the Importance of Its linguistic extraction, from the simple way to the spiritual, why we desire happiness, and the nature of our longing for It, The metaphysics of happiness, the possibility of happiness and goodness of being stand or fall together, the cause of happiness, the relationship between happiness and Joy, as well as the means to happiness.
The latter he argues is contemplation; which he sees as an Intultlve perception ot the universal good enthused and sharpened by love. contemplation us such Is gradually assembled to the Idea of the need of human happiness; with different meanings and alms he concludes that Contemplation Is “d focusing on the inner gaze, undistracted by anything from outside, but troubled from within by the challenge to achieve a profounder?. peace. Happiness is sold as a product in the marketing world and we as humans boldly buy we as society tall Into the trap otthe old tormula “greatest happiness. tor the greatest number. (13) so It comes to us Ilke a surprise when we hear that mans ultimate happiness consists in contemplation. It would not be wise to discard the proposition that contemplation is man happiness, however we deeply analyze the meaning of the word and the roots of it.
Happiness is rooted in God and therefore in beatitude Happiness has many meanings in vernacular language, but, none of them have any connection with the splrlt or virtue ot the person, they are all related to the enjoyment or pleasure of the body. St. Thomas estates happiness” as an “attainment of d created good” and all humans can experience It In many different ays, from the drinking of water when thirsty to the enjoyment of the company of a loved one. However the appearance of happiness in satisfaction is not enough. The pursuit of happiness” comes to us as human nature, we want happiness by nature. because we are the only beings that can feel It. it would be unnatural to think that an animal feel happiness. so, to us Is a necessity and should be our ultimate human goal because this Is something that we cannot control, with this we conclude that happiness should be the ultimate goal of human life. Human nature conditions human souls to desire happiness, even though arguments gainst this concept might arise; ultimately we can say that men will have not the power to not want happiness.
Happiness as a concept ot satiation ot our own pursuit, provides for us the drink that will sausfy our thirst, and analyzing the complexity of human nature and all the needs of humans we only have to look up to the only perfect being, The only one who is Happy by his mere existence. “To God alone may perfect beatitude be attributed, by virtue of his nature. ” (28) Looking to “happiness” as part of human nature and looking up to God as the ultimate happy being, the summa reassures this tor us as St Thomas concludes that Any human being who Is happy share In happiness that Is not of himself.
For God, existence. ” By this we conclude that God and happiness are the same, we fall in the same conclusion God as an impaired divine being. Exploring more the concept of “Happiness” as a pursuit and an end; we come to explore a metaphor where we see happiness as a thirst and we relate this thirst, as seeking happiness as a satiation of the will which demands quenching and this quenching of the thirst is happiness.
However, this simple metaphor can unfold in two parts one looking to “happiness as drink” and the other with “happiness as rinking” This can fall into the satisfaction of a non virtuous nature, as humans our thirsts sometimes go to extremes, man seek fame, fortune, wealth, and pleasures to quench our thirst but ultimately we realize that our happiness depends upon the glory of God. Because of this holy longing we are guided to conclude that the greatest happiness is sharing in eternity. So the satiation of this hunger and thirst only will not be satiated unless we partake of God himself.
Is happiness nothing but gladness overflowing, infinite Joy? St. Thomas will say NO. Happiness without Joy is unthinkable; but they are two different things. In the Summa both concepts get clarified as Thomas explains it. “Therefore a person rejoices because he possesses a good appropriate to him”whether in reality, or in hope, or at least in memory. The appropriate good, however, if it is perfect, is precisely the man’s happiness… Thus it is evident that no t even the Joy which follows the possession of the perfect good is the essence of happiness itself. Enjoying life, filling with meaningful things, like serving others, being charitable, surrendering yourself to God, doing the right thing when is needed. All these things ring Joy to my heart; the ends of my dedication to them are only building on my happiness as a man. Differentiating we conclude that Joy is essentially secondary, the response to happiness. But, Joy has not purpose beyond itself. Happiness as the attainment of “the whole good” even though is difficult to find the meaning of the word attain we can conclude that is the means we use to reach our goal, so we find happiness being the result of acting and doing.
The idea of happiness as action reach to three propositions, happiness means perfection; perfection means realization; realization comes from acting. Happiness means erfection, “In perfect felicity the whole man is perfected,” Perfection means full realization” felicity must consist in man’s attainment of the uttermost degree of being real. “Realization is achieved by action” in analyzing this concept one might think of this of being an outward action, but, this should be done so this remains within the person himself.