The concept of happiness and its reality.
Happiness is a word about which people differ regarding its meaning. Some see it as another word for pleasure, comfort, wealth, high position or fame… It is for this reason that so many people consume their lives traveling through various paths in search of happiness. Happiness is a feeling that stems from within oneself when one feels satisfaction, bliss, tranquility, contentment and joy. People, however, differ on their view of happiness, since each person has a different temperament, different interests and aspirations, and even their communities differ. Some, therefore, see that happiness lies in being rich, living in a nice house, in prestige or health. Others feel that the route of happiness lies in having a good spouse and children, in work or studying, while others may see it in the proximity of the beloved, getting rid of any source of annoyance, in spiritual chasteness or in helping the poor and needy. The strange thing, however, is that when you ask many of these people: are you really and honestly happy? They would answer in the negative!!
You can see then that the definitions of happiness vary from one person to another and from one community to another.
Some international authorities have even designed a set of degrees they have called ‘the ladder of happiness’ in order to gauge which people are the happiest. They conducted several investigations and different questionnaires. The results were a surprise for everyone. It was found that the people of the United States are the most miserable and the most unhappy, and that that country came to stand at the bottom of the ladder, even though we are all aware of the extent of welfare which the individual American enjoys in their country. It was also quite shocking to learn that the people of Nigeria obtained the highest degree on this ladder of happiness, thereby indicating that they are the happiest people in spite of the extreme poverty they are suffering!!! These are the results of a survey conducted by the American Newsweek magazine on the happiest peoples in the world .As mentioned above, on top of the list, which included sixty five countries, came the Nigerian people who are impoverished, most of whom are Muslims, followed by the peoples of Mexico, Venezuela and El Salvador, while the developed countries, on the other hand, to the surprise of the authors of that report, occupied a low position on their ladder of happiness. We may reflect for a long time on the confession of the Americans who were interviewed in the report; that happiness is not about riches and money , which seems a surprising remark in such a pragmatic society that was founded on the extremist forms of capitalism. These results prompted the same magazine to investigate the phenomenon of the spread of religion in the United States .A new questionnaire was formed concerning the American’squest in search of happiness through casual meditation formulas, which are taken as doses for treating tired souls.
Perhaps this issue, about what happiness is and how one should attain it, is faced by many of those who try to define it. For example, Plato considered happiness to lie in the virtues of the soul: wisdom, courage, chastity and justice. According to him, a human being is only completely happy when his soul returns to the other world. Aristotle, on the other hand, considered happiness as a gift from the One God (Allah), and that it consists of five dimensions: physical health, soundness of the senses, access to wealth and making good use of it, success in work and achievement of aspirations, soundness of the mind and of belief, as well as a good reputation and being accepted by the people. In psychology happiness can be defined as a reflection of the degree of satisfaction in one’s life, or as a reflection of how frequently one experiences pleasant emotions .Yet, the question still remains about this difference regarding the concept of happiness. What is happiness? How can I be happy? Is happiness attained only through pleasure?