While reading Book 1 of Nicomachean Ethics, I found the discussion on the definition of happiness in chapter 4 to be particularly interesting. Aristotle states: “as far as its name goes, most people virtually agree <about what the good is>, since both the many and the cultivated call it happiness, and suppose that living well and doing well are the same as being happy. But they disagree about what happiness is, and the many do not give the same answer as the wise” (350).
In these chapters, Aristotle talks about the idea of “the good”. As the passage states, people agree that “the good” is happiness, and the goal of life is to reach happiness. However, everybody has there own definitions of happiness. Aristotle says that some people think of happiness as pleasure, wealth, or honor. On the other hand, some people’s idea of happiness is constantly changing; for example, in sickness, happiness is health. I think this varying idea of happiness makes it hard for Aristotle to define happiness and find it.
This passage caught my eye because there is a sort of obsession with happiness. I think in our world everybody is caught up in this idea of happiness. People try so hard to find this happiness and get lost in the search. I definitely agree that the majority of people consider happiness to be the goal of life. However, I think it is okay that there is not a set definition on this idea. Different things in life make people happy, so it is impossible for the idea of happiness to be universal. In my opinion happiness is not something that can be forced, it will just come to you.