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March 31, 2009


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Until we became market obsessed, it was common knowledge, in all moral, literary, philosophical and folk traditions that happiness or a successful human life is essentially gregarious, a matter of excellence and virtue in solidarity with others as part of a just community

Word !

Also, see Jane Jacobs and Erich Fromm and Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness).

Phil Cubeta

Yes, indeed.


I agree with almost all of the central argument with this point, especially about the interconnectedness of happiness and philosophy, as well as the condemnation of "happiness reachearch;" however I must violently disagree with the notion that the arts are not equally as important as science. Numbers move things, but words move the people who move the things. Art informs and adds to creative possibilities vie stimulation of the imagination. A society without art could have no science, it is no wonder that the first thinkers of the Renaissance studied both.
Furthermore, I must also disagree with the notion that past societies were somehow any more moral than our own. Religion subjugated natural urges and freedom of thought, rulers exercised dominion over subjects, the entire concept of the individual was unknown, individual happiness did not exist. While I agree that our modern life makes each individual more isolated with more potential for unhappiness, there is also more potential for happiness. Oedipus wasn't happy at the end of his tale because he felt he had fulfilled some abstract morality, he was happy because his sins had made him happy, and any great feeling of completeness or happiness, is linked with a potential for as much sadness. Oedipus realized this, and because of it he was not sad at his own death.

Phil Cubeta

Art is strong medicine. He was happy in that he was fortunate to have been cured of his blindness, though it cost him his kingdom and his eyes.


I think the point you begin is still fundamentally true and known in practice - see the rise of the conference as a core social event.

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