Metaphor for Happiness

Life is a bipolar substance. There is birth of a soul and death of a body, which are, but collateral benefits of a human existence. In the interim between birth and death, Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, believes happiness to be the most desirable thing above everything for a human being. The paper develops this idea as a fundamental element of the Aristotle’s work “Nicomachean Ethics”.

Pursuit of knowledge inquires people to question their own nature. It is an inalienable part of human nature to seek happiness. For Aristotle “happiness is among the things that are prized and perfect” (Aristotle, Book 1, 12). We have a conjecture that represents a general idea of the way of understanding happiness by Aristotle in a metaphor. According to this metaphor: HAPPINESS → LIFE. We believe that Aristotle sees happiness as life, because these are the two elements which supplement one another, and in same time exclude everything else. The metaphor is a conclusion derived from the first book in which “…we have defined happiness as being” (Aristotle, Book 1, 8).

Aristotle describes happiness from multiple points of view. One can seek it, have it, and loose it, but in order to understand what happiness is, one has to embrace the idea that life is happiness. In order to show the truth of this notion, we have to pay attention to the Aristotle’s concept of a soul. This results in a statement that every living person has a soul. The philosopher amplifies this thought by concluding that “happiness is an activity of soul” (Aristotle, Book 1, 13). Happiness is life, and life is not a philosophical thing. We consider life to be a physical phenomenon. It is neither the past, nor the future, but the present. That is why it is correct to think that the time that is happening now and everything that is taking place in this specific time is an activity, and is happiness. For the sake of the argument, one may contradict to this and say that he, or she is not feeling happy. We agree with Aristotle, when he answers to this and writes that “happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action”. (Aristotle, Book 1, 8).

In order to understand the basic idea of the first book “Nicomachean Ethics”, written by Aristotle, we developed a metaphor HAPPINESS → LIFE. This metaphor reflects thoughts which declare happiness to be “an action of a soul”, the very life of a human being. People experience happiness differently, but the ability to experience it, to live it, is happiness in its widest sense.

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