I forgot how much I enjoyed philosophy. Don’t worry Dad, I’m not going to major in it, (poor philosophy majors get a bad rap in the career world) but nonetheless, I find the material especially engaging and pertinent for the project. I happen to be in the introductory ethics course, where we are studying morality and yes, my favorite, happiness.
We recently read one of Aristotle’s pieces discussing how every human strives for happiness as their ultimate goal, however, no two people can agree on what exactly that is. He says that a majority of us are like “cows chewing cud,” finding happiness in the mundane, meaningless, and simple pleasures of life. Others of us find pleasure from earning a high reputation and being “successful,” which is really a fruitless pursuit in his eyes. For when we base our happiness on what others think of us, we are easily shattered when we lose that esteem from others—instead, it must come from within.
It is the happiness that is derived from a life of fulfillment that makes us the most happy. From my personal experience, and from what hundreds of other teens have told me, it is the people in our lives that bring such a fulfillment. It’s our family, our friends, and any loved one that brings immeasurable joy. Of course, enjoying the little joys in life brings a great deal of momentary happiness, and earning “success” and a “good reputation” buffers against unhappiness. But more than anything, it’s the people. The people that we laugh with, cry with, and experience life with. That brings us happiness—Aristotle thought so in 400 B.C. and I think so now.