The important point here is that ''happiness'' is too vague and baggy a notion to be truly helpful. It is like an old pair of knickers that has lost its elastic and become over-capacious and shapeless.
Instead of talking about happiness, one should talk about satisfaction, achievement, interest, engagement, enjoyment, growth and the constant opening of fresh possibilities.
Very often the activities that yield these things are challenging, even effortful. A person in the midst of doing something objectively worthwhile might not describe himself as happy - usually he will be too absorbed to notice - and only later will realise that what it is to be happy is to be absorbed in something worthwhile.
If mere happiness were the point, we could easily achieve it for everyone by suitably medicating the water supply. But it has often been well said that the surest way to unhappiness is to seek happiness directly. Instead, happiness comes as a sideline of other endeavours that in themselves bring satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
It is like the dot of light in a dark room that one cannot see when looking directly at it, but notices out of the corner of one's eye on looking away.
The other confusion concerns wealth. If a person has a million pounds in the bank and never touches a penny of it, or a huge mansion and never occupies it, it is the same as if he had neither the money nor the house. What this shows is that wealth is not so much what one has, but what one does with it.
A man who has a thousand pounds and spends it on a wonderful trip to the Galapagos Islands is a rich man indeed: the experiences, the things learnt, the differences wrought in him by both, are true wealth.
If you would like to know how rich a person is, you need to ask not how much money he has, but how much he has spent.
This idea is associated with the wise teaching that the philosophers and poets of antiquity never tired of repeating: that a rich person is he who has enough.
If his needs are modest and his habits frugal, then so long as his resources provide enough to meet both, he is rich.
But the man is poor who, despite owning millions, restlessly yearns for more because he feels he cannot have enough, and in particular who lacks the things money cannot buy - ah yes, for these unpurchasable treasures can never be left out of the picture: friendship, love, a sound digestion and a reliable, natural ability to sleep at nights, are indispensable to the possibility of happiness, if not directly supplying it.
In thinking about happiness and wealth, one should avoid using the words ''happiness' and ''wealth'', and think instead of more accurate and more substantial words that denote what one truly thinks these things are.
To mention satisfaction and achievement is to suggest activity of some kind - doing and making, helping, learning, changing - which might seem obvious to most, but is chosen by surprisingly few.
Ruskin tellingly remarked ''a man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel'', and this, alas, characterises too many people. The limited surface area of such parcels does not attract much of the golden dust of satisfaction.
The true equation between happiness and wealth is this: that happiness is wealth. Unlike wealth in the form of money and possessions, such happiness can never be quantified, only felt; and if one has it, it does not matter if the level of it always stays the same.
- A C Grayling is professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London
True Wealth Essay examples
824 Words4 Pages
When one asks themselves "what is wealth," people immediately think of money. They think of nice cars and big houses. People think of power and the ability to have control over others. When I was in elementary school I believed this same thing. Now that I am in college my outlook on what wealth is has changed dramatically. To me wealth is contentment and knowledge. With these two things will come the greatest wealth a person can achieve. Money does not necessarily mean contentment although some people think that it does. Wealth is not having money, property, and power if these things cannot make a person truly content. These things do not necessarily bring wisdom either. When I think of wealth a quotation comes to…show more content…
Wealth is not the ability to take everything for granted. Wealth is not greed and malice towards others. People sometimes put so much stress on wealth.
What I believe is that if one should spend their life gaining wealth than what truly was the purpose of life. When one dies all the wealth will not go with them. Wealth is not the endless struggle to gain more riches than another. If one is obsessed with this idea how can one truly be wealthy. When one struggles for material items such as money there will always be an emptiness inside them.
This emptiness will never be filled no matter how much money they can attain.
Pretty soon the need for money will destroy a person. I have seen how money can corrupt individuals. Wealth is not being famous and having everyone know who you are. Others may know who you are but if you do not know who you are what is the point of all this fame. Wealth is not the ability to gloat and boast to others about your riches.
The more a person does this they will become more lonely in life. When one brags they expect others to feel bad and jealous. This person feeds of these feelings of jealousy. If people are indifferent and do not pay attention then the person will never be complete. How can someone like this truly be wealthy?
When I think of wealth another quotation comes to mind. It was said by
Titus Lucretius Carus:
"But if one should guide his life by