What is Happiness? (Part 1)

Let’s begin our understanding of happiness by first looking at two of the three modern thinkers: Csikszentmihalyi and Maslow.

Csikszentmihalyi teaches of those few who have reached his fourth and final stage of development, “The fourth step, which builds on all the previous ones, is a final turning away from the self, back toward an integration with other people and with universal values.  In this final stage the extremely individualized person… willingly merges his interests with those of a larger whole.” Csikszentmihalyi goes on to mention, “… only a precious few emerge (i.e., reach the fourth and final level) once again to forge a unity with universal values.”

Maslow echoes a similar sentiment for those who have satisfied their belongingness and self-esteem needs (third and fourth needs of five), as they are now, “motivated primarily by trends to self-actualization (defined as ongoing actualization of potentials, capacities and talents, as fulfillment of a mission (or call, fate, destiny, or vocation), as a fuller knowledge of, and acceptance of, the person’s own intrinsic nature, as an unceasing trend toward unity, integration or synergy within the person).”

The thoughts of the modern thinkers would not be complete without the teachings of Campbell, to be discussed in the next post.

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