Dr. Jeffries English 1A
September 28, 2012
In discussions of happiness, most of us would agree that being happy is the way of life. One pressing issue has been the relationship between happiness and individual freedom. On the one hand Thomas Jefferson argues that people’s rights are among “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Jefferson believes that “All men are created equal”, and the way Great Britain controls their government which is shown on lines 3-29 in The Declaration of Independence is not the way others should be treated. Great Britain is under dominance of only one person, and no citizens have say in any governmental issue, and that doesn’t compare to how Jefferson sees happiness. On the other hand Aristotle contends happiness as “Aiming for good”, he believes that if you do good, and achieve good things in life you will aim for the good of happiness in life.
Political freedom is related to personal happiness to Jefferson, because he goes by “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” he believes that having Life is basically living with “rights”, by which means you have the right to live your own life the way you please, but under the laws of the government, and doing the tasks that need to be done as an individual. Liberty is having your freedom, but to a certain extent, where your freedom is secure by the overall government, not by your parents or other people. And the pursuit of Happiness is the way you choose to live your personal life as individual, but still respecting others, to get respect in return. Aristotle doesn’t see personal happiness related to political freedom, but he sees it as goals in life that you’ve always dreamt of and accomplishing them, and just doing things you like to do, is what really makes an individual happy. just like he states in the last sentence of Aristotle, The Aim of Man “Evidently, then, happiness is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end and aim of all that we do.”(699). he means that by aiming for what we know is best for us, we eventually get the happiness we want out of it.
Jefferson’s view of happiness towards government would be that all citizens should be able to unite and have say in any governmental issue. They should all follow the laws that are given in order to achieve happiness throughout their life. Aristotle’s view of happiness towards government is basically following the government's rules but also doing as you please. You want to keep the laws in mind as you begin to do things that make you happy.
Jefferson’s view of happiness in regards to spirituality is that he believes that we should all be treating each other equally. When it comes to dedicating yourself to finding out your happiness, you should think about how others will feel as well. Aristotle’s view of happiness towards spirituality is that you are happy if your soul is happy. Aristotle stated that “the good has rightly been declared that at which all things aim” (694). If you aim to bring happiness to yourself, that is something that you can achieve, as long you take into consideration how other people will feel around you. You can bring happiness to another person by showing it off, and teaching them how they can live a happy life.
Jefferson’s view on Possessions when referring to happiness is that you will get what you can bring happiness to another person by showing it off, and teaching them how they can live a happy life. As an individual if you exert positives then the people around you will
Sense that and act from that positivity. On the other hand if you send out negative vibes and act very negative towards other people, then that is the impression that they are going to get from you. Aristotle’s view on Possessions is that happiness must be something that can be shared and people can learn from. Aristotle states that even if happiness is not god sent “it comes as a result of virtue of some kind of learning or training, still one of the most divine things in the world” (703). Aristotle believes that you can share with people what it means to be happy and in return they can learn and spread the word to others. If you are happy with the things that you have in life, that is enough to say that you should spread that happiness and teach other people what I takes to find that happiness.
I myself happen to agree with Aristotle’s point of view on happiness. The main reason why I agree with his point of view is because I believe you will be happy doing good to get good in life. Once you set your goals on whatever it is that makes you happy, then you should realize that you can achieve happiness after completing your goals. You can’t let other people choose your happiness in life. Aristotle is more set on having people believe that no one needs to be told what to do, in order for them to be happy. At the end of the day you are the one to decide what actual happiness is. The happier you are the better your life should be, but everyone has a different perspective on happiness. So, you need to find yourself, and not let others define what you should be. If you live your life pleasing others, always following the rules, or doing things to fit in, then you aren’t set on a happy life, your set on a life that’s not fully yours. You can’t stick with always devoting the rest of your life to someone, doing what you don’t really like doing. You need to stop pretending to be someone you’re not, and be yourself, otherwise you’ll be stuck satisfying someone else’s needs rather than yours. Happiness depends on whatever it is that pleases you.
Aristotle. “The Aim of Man.” Jacobus 694-709.
Jacobus, Lee A. ed. A World of Ideas. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. Print.