I accept happiness as my highest moral goal, but we need to actually define happiness to be able to hit the mark.
In the final part of this series we are going to talk about how to actually attain happiness, no small feat right?
Let’s start with my old buddy Stefan Molyneux:
Happiness, Part 2 by Stefan Molyneux
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Here are some of the highlights:
Do thoughts cause happiness?
When you develop valid, true and philosophical values, such as a commitment to honesty, integrity, courage, and those are sort of the more personal virtues, and the more abstract virtues, such as respect for human life, for choice, for voluntaryism, and in particular against the initiation of the use of force… When you start to develop these rational principles and virtues, they don’t make you happy. In fact, initially, they make you unhappy.
But merely having the values will not make you happy any more than reading a diet book will cause you to lose weight, or watching Sid and Nancy will clean you for smack or heroin.
It is in the consistent application, the acting of our values, that happiness lies. Reason = Virtue, Virtue is rational principles in action. That equals happiness.
The thoughts will not give you happiness. In fact, and this is the grave risk and danger of philosophy: if you have the thoughts without the action, that is merely masochism.
The Act of Happiness
Philosophy is rational principles put into consistent action, and that is how we know that we are achieving virtue, rather than merely talking about virtue, which is the addiction of sophisticated and linguistically deft intellectuals: talking, not acting. Most people will act without thinking, many people will think without acting, putting the two into place in sequence in the correct way is the Aristotelian challenge.
Happiness is virtue in action (two words), whereas for most of us happiness is virtue inaction (one word). Doing nothing other than talking and arguing and not actually making fundamental moral choices based on the philosophy and the highest values that you hold, and that, my friends, is really using philosophy to humiliate yourself and discredit other virtuous people, and I would strongly request and strongly urge you to either do it or stop talking about it.