Continuing from my previous post, if St. Aquinas (whose philosophy regarding happiness in this life is an extension of that of Aristotle) is correct regarding the importance of love of neighbor in crossing the threshold to happiness, then what works of art might express this aspect of his philosophy? By the way, the theoretical research of Maslow, backed by recent empirical research verifying his theories regarding the hierarchy of needs, is similar to the philosophy of Aristotle, but presented in psychological terminology.
I would like to discuss two works of art that clearly represent the importance of the love of neighbor for fully-virtuous individuals to reach happiness (or, in psychological terms, for self-actualized individuals to reach happiness).
The first work of art is Freedom from Want, by Rockwell. In this work the two grandparents express happiness – happiness brought about by the love of their children and grandchildren. The grandparents express belongingness, self-esteem, honor, wisdom, courage, temperance (see Puritanical table setting) and justice. They heeded the call, took the Adventure, and returned back to the everyday world with assistance of the love of their family. In return they bestow nurturing care and love for their children and grandchildren.
Attention is on the isolated grandparents, who as a couple, accepted the call to adventure and sacrificed through hard work and dedication for the successful upbringing of their family. The boon that they captured was not just tending to their family’s needs, but serving as a role model for others who might be considering a similar call to adventure. The grandparents have achieved happiness as exhibited by a sense of freedom, lack of needs or desires, and a sense of virtuous activity (possession of goods necessary for proper living but with modesty (see table setting), concern for family, and the loved displayed by the family members.
More to come!