What is Happiness? (Part 2)

In my previous post I began discussing the concept of happiness as presented by two modern psychologists, Csikszentmihalyi and Maslow.  In particular, Maslow mentioned that an individual enjoying happiness is “motivated primarily by trends to self-actualization… as fulfillment of a mission (or call, fate, destiny, or vocation)…”  It is the fulfillment of this mission or call that is further explored by Campbell in which the returning hero of myth, having crossed the return threshold with the loving help of others and whose boon is accepted by society, is awarded the position as the master of two worlds – the material and the spiritual.

For Campbell, “Freedom to pass back and forth across the world division, from the perspective of the apparitions of time to that of the casual deep and back – not contaminating the principles of the one with the other, yet permitting the mind to know the one by virtue of the other – is the talent of the Master.” Campbell goes on to say, “The individual, through prolonged disciplines, gives up completely all attachment to his personal limitations, idiosyncrasies, hopes, and fears. … His personal ambitions being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him …” 

It is now that we witness the convergence of the conclusions arrived at by the intellectual “prose” of Maslow, Csikszentmihalyi, and Campbell.  More to come!

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