Unified Theory of Happiness

This theory unifies the teachings of the five disciplines concerned with happiness: 1) psychology, 2) philosophy, 3) mythology, 4) Christian theology, and 5) Bible scripture (other faiths discussed in book). This theory underlies the contemporary vision of happiness presented in the book.

The theory is composed of two roads to happiness commingled or twisted into one. The first road leads to everyday happiness. The second road leads to religious happiness. The commingled road leads to twofold happiness: everyday happiness and eternal happiness. 

Road to Everyday Happiness

The road to everyday happiness is a seven-segment progression. The Journey, first three segments, is completed with the satisfaction of the internal need for flow (psychologist M. Csikszentmihalyi) and fulfillment of the first four of five needs of the Hierarchy of Needs (psychologist A. Maslow).

The Adventure (similar to the monomyth of mythologist J. Campbell), next three segments, begins with those in the Journey willing to accept the call to a quest to find one’s purpose in life. The Adventure continues with the capture of the gift (reason for the quest) and the presentation of the gift for the flourishing of others. The four cardinal virtues of prudence, courage, temperance, and justice (philosophers Aristotle, Aquinas, and others) are necessary for the success of the Adventure, which concludes with the welcome to everyday happiness. 

Everyday happiness consists of self-actualization with peak experiences (Maslow’s fifth and final need), connectedness with universal values (Csikszentmihalyi), freedom to exist in both the everyday and spiritual worlds (Campbell), and the absence of fear and anxiety living a virtuous life (philosophers). This everyday happiness is spiritual wellness for those without faith.

Road to Religious Happiness

For Christians (other religions discussed in book), there is a desire to follow a second road to religious happiness. This second road also has a Journey and an Adventure.  The religious Journey involves one’s family and Church providing instruction and guidance on living a life according to God’s instructions. Those properly prepared are given an opportunity to enter into the religious Adventure.

The religious Adventure is living a life in the hope of receiving God’s blessing of the three theological virtues (Christian theologian St. Aquinas). The three virtues are faith, hope, and charity. Faith, assent to believing in God, is the virtue that pulls one from the religious Journey into the religious Adventure. Hope provides comfort and nourishment during the religious Adventure, and the end of the religious Adventure is reached with the grace of charity. Charity is the love for God.

Road to Twofold Happiness 

Jesus mentions two commandments of God are required for eternal happiness (the Bible): 1) love for God and 2) love of neighbor. Both commandments are commingled or twisted together.

The second commandment is satisfied at the end of the Adventure as the captured gift is presented for the flourishing of others (love of neighbor). The first commandment is satisfied by God’s blessing of the virtue of charity (love for God) at the conclusion of the religious Adventure. With these two commandments satisfied, eternal happiness is merited.

Thus, for those of faith to reach spiritual wellness, the road to everyday happiness must be commingled or twisted with the road to religious happiness. As such, the individual enjoys everyday happiness surpassed at a future date with eternal happiness; or, twofold happiness (St. Aquinas and the Bible).

The logic, symmetry, and beauty of this Unified Theory of Happiness is fully-explored in the book.

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