Continuing from my last post, Aristotle offers a very unique road to happiness that could be considered part Epicureanism and part Stoicism.
Aristotle realizes that luck regarding one’s parents and society has a large impact on whether one attains happiness since proper preparation (including education) for life is so important.
Beyond preparation, Aristotle understands that one needs friends to find some meaning in life as well as the appreciation of others. He understands the need for some wealth as well as pleasure in one’s daily life; after all, we all live in the real world and must satisfy certain human needs. In addition, he values social skills enough to note that those with emotional anxieties and those that lack social skills may never find happiness.
Aristotle teaches that each individual is responsible for attaining the virtues, which are found through practice and through interactions with others. The activities undertaken to secure the virtues are vitally important to finding happiness. In a sense, Aristotle was very pragmatic. He understands those needs necessary just to be able to begin to lead a virtuous life (the needs reflected in Maslow’s hierarchy) – a nurturing family and just society, friendships, wealth, and honor, but he is quick to note that an excess of any of these needs is harmful to one’s happiness. He realizes that greed, gluttony, and arrogance are very harmful to finding happiness.
For Aristotle, living a life of virtuous activity (once the virtues are acquired) is happiness. To Aristotle, happiness is not a state of mind as much as it is a way of life.
Thus, Aristotle reflects the teachings of Epicurus as well as the Stoics. Aristotle’s teachings present the proper roads of the Journey as well as the Adventure. Aristotle’s philosophy will get us from birth to the threshold of happiness.
More to come!