What Is Happiness? Essay

1165 words - 5 pages

What is Happiness?
In the movie The Pursuit of Happyness [sic], Will Smith talks about how Thomas Jefferson used the word "pursuit" in the Declaration of Independence. He goes on to explain “that it is there because a person can pursue happiness, but can never obtain it.” A level of happiness may be experienced as a result of hard work and dedication. Most people have problems and setbacks striving to reach happiness; even ideas of what constitutes happiness vary from person to person. People cope and overcome extremely complex problems in order to reach an acceptable level of happiness.
Money has always been an issue for people and, most likely, always will be. People today know the saying “Money doesn’t buy happiness,” but life can be stressful and threatened without it. In The Pursuit of Happyness [sic], Will smith is in a situation where he has no money left and is trying to get a job as a stockbroker. When people are left in desperate financial situations, they can find the situation emotionally overwhelming. A strong reliance in friends and family can help a person to regain self-esteem. Will Smith resorts to locking himself in a bathroom stall, because he has no income while trying to obtain a job. His son never loses faith in him and always trusts him through this difficult period in their lives. The will to help not only yourself, but your loved ones to achieve happiness is very strong and, as long as you have that, most obstacles will fail to stop you.
In today’s American culture one’s physical appearance is very pertinent to many people. In her memoir, Wasted, by Marya Hornbacher, the author says, “I was sitting there in the darkness laughing.” (Hornbacher 27) She is in darkness, because whenever she is in a lighted room and looks into a mirror, she sees only her superficial, negative physical appearance and nothing about herself as a person. The irony of the situation is that Marya sees herself as obese, when in reality, she is starving to death. She is told this, but does not believe that to be true. Even if Marya were the most picturesque woman on earth, would that bring her happiness? According to Plato (a Greek philosopher), Marya’s values are insufficient for her to attain happiness. Plato states that in order for a person to achieve happiness, the person must possess four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. Marya’s personality disorder causes her to fixate on level three of Maslow’s discussion of human needs, the need for acceptance by her peers. For her to advance to accepting her physical and inner self, Marya’s ideals must be of her choosing, not those selected by someone else.
A common occurrence is that an individual believes someone else will take responsibility for making him happy. “If I just find my soul mate, then I will have everything I need.” That belief causes a person to give his authority to someone else. The person is looking for a solution from others, instead of one from within. A...

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