Continuing with my last post, we move to the third section of the Consolation of Philosophy. In the second section, Book Two, Philosophy teaches that the transitory goods of wealth, fame, power, honor, and physical beautiful are not sufficient for happiness. Those of us that focus on these goods will not find happiness.
This is a key section of the book.
First, Philosophy mentions that it is the goal of all individuals to seek happiness in their lives. “Mortal men laboriously pursue many different interests along many different paths, but all strive to reach the same goal of happiness. Now the good is defined at that which, once it is attained, relieves man of all further desires.”
Second, the desire for wealth, public honor, power, fame, and pleasure are worthy of desire and it is not bad to seek after these goods; however, they are not sufficient for happiness. Philosophy mentions that individuals get into trouble by assuming that these goods are sufficient for happiness.
Third, Philosophy states that true happiness can only be found in the perfect good, and the perfect good includes possession of the above-mentioned transitory goods in addition to other things, to be discussed.
The above three points mirror what I have discussed in my book. To reach the “good life” requires “involvement” and “exposure” activities, in addition to family nurturing and safety provided by society, that lead to financial comfort, prestige, belongingness, honor, and recognition. These same goods mentioned by Philosophy are required for happiness, as expressed by the modern thinkers as well as the ancient philosophers. However, to go beyond the “good life” towards happiness requires a set of virtues to accept a call to adventure and complete the adventure and return to the everyday world.
More on this in the next post!