What is Happiness?

Happiness can be defined as whether or not we are satisfied with how things are happening and unfolding in our lives, whether or not we are positive in everyday life, if we are living the life we want to live, and the quality of life we are living.  We must also believe that we are living the life that we want.Happiness, by its simplest account, can be defined as:

  1. The quality and quantity of pleasure, enjoyment, and fulfillment we have and experience in our lives.
  2. Whether or not we are satisfied with how things are happening and unfolding in our lives.
  3. What our mind-set, outlook, moods, and emotional dispositions are in life’s passing moments.
  4. Whether we are living the life we want.
  5. Any and/or all of the above.

There’s also an added dimension to happiness. It’s a subset of #4 above. We also must believe we are living the kind of life we want, not that we’re living a life that conflicts with our values, beliefs, and convictions.

Of course, this assumes that we want to live a good life.

Sven Nyholm of Experimental Philosophy points out that this may be a very important ingredient to happiness. If one is very happy given the checklist above, yet lives an immoral life by committing all kinds of atrocities against mankind, the latter far outweighs any emotional and mental states achieved.

What do you think about this explanation?

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