Happiness

Philosophy Book Notes

Books used 

Seneca - Dialogues and Essays (Oxford)

Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin)

2 Notes selected

Cicero - Selected Works (Penguin)

2 Notes selected

Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford)

2 Notes selected

Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

Osamu Dazai - No Longer Human

1 Notes selected

Diogenes (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

3 Notes selected

Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmao Karamazov (Editora 34)

1 Notes selected

Aristotle - The Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

Happiness

A selection of notes to understand Happiness. 

Happiness

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Happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient and is the end of the action. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.11)

The Formula

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(They were happy, the two of them. I’d been a fool to come between them. I might destroy them both if I were not careful. Humble happiness. A good mother and child. God, I thought, if you listen to the prayers of people like myself, grant me happiness once, only once in my whole life will be enough! Hear my prayers!) (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.124)
During the course of my life, I have wished innumerable times that I might meet with a violent death, but I have never once desired to kill anybody. I thought that in killing dreaded adversity I might actually be bringing him happiness. (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.45)

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The happy life is joy based on the truth. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.199)

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Why live years if happiness is in a day. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmao Karamazov (Editora 34)

Happy Life

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Since no one can say that this is a matter outside experience, the happy life is found in the memory and is recognized when the words are uttered. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.198)
By a change for the better, it has become converted to that which cannot change either for the better or for the worse. That is what you alone are. You alone are in absolute simplicity. To you it is not one thing to live, another to live in blessed happiness, because you are your own blessedness. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.275)

Where it is found

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There is great satisfaction in the knowledge of a life well spent and the memory of many things well done. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.217)

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The condition under which we are born would be favourable if only we did not abandon them. Nature’s interaction was that we should need no great equipment for living in happiness: every one of us is capable of making himself happy. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.166)

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He aims to show that stoic ethics can have a transforming influence on the way you live and offers a powerful pathway to human happiness. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.0)

The Formula

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Augustine says, quoting Varro, what other reason is there for doing philosophy but to be happy. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.10)

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Crates said “These people account one another happy because one does the opposite of the other; but I account myself happy because I no longer play either part, being neither the seller nor a buyer. (Diogenes - Oxford p.91)

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The most luxuriantly fertile of all is that of our moral obligations - since, if we clearly understand these, we have mastered the rules for leading a good and consistent life. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.160)

How to make it constant 

Renounce everything that lies outside the sphere of choice

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There is one path alone that leads to happiness - and keep this thought at hand morning, noon, and night - it is to renounce any claim to anything that lies outside the sphere of choice, to regard nothing as being your own, to surrender everything to the deity, to fortune, to consign the administration of everything to those whom Zeus himself had appointed to carry out the task, and when you read, to refer your writing and your listening. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p244)
If you’re nourished by thoughts such as these, what need do you have to enquire any longer as to where you are to find happiness, and where you will please God? Aren’t people just the same distance from God wherever they are? And wherever they are don’t they have just the same view of what is coming about. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.245)

Do not waste time

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How late it is to begin living only when one must stop! What foolish forgetfulness of morality to put off well-considered plans to one’s fifteenth and sixtieth year, and to want to begin life at a point that few have reached. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.143)

Do not hope 

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If happiness is the highest good of rational nature and anything that can be taken away is not the highest good - since it is suppressed by what can’t be taken away - Fortune by her very mutability can’t hope to lead to happiness. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.31)

Good fortune is Bad

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Good fortune always seems to bring happiness, but deceives you with her smiles, whereas bad fortune is always truthful because by the change she shows her true fickleness. Good fortune deceives, but bad fortune enlightens. With her display of specious riches, good fortune enslaves the minds of those who enjoy her, while bad fortune gives men release thorough the recognition of how fragile thing happiness is. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.44)

How to deal with bad people 

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Revenge is an admission of pain; a mind that is bowed by injury is not a great mind. The man who has done the injury is either stronger than you or weaker: if he is weaker, spare him, if stronger, spare yourself. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.23)

For the greatest punishment of wrongdoing is having done it, and no one is punished more severely than the man who submits to the torture of contrition. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.40)

Vengeance normally achieves one of two ends: it either brings compensation to the injured party or peace of mind for the future. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.208)

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Text version:

Content:

1 Happiness

1.1 Happy Life

1.2 Where it is found

1.3 How to make it constant 

1.3a Renounce everything that lies outside the sphere of choice

1.3b Do not waste time

1.3c Do not hope 

1.3d Good fortune is Bad

1.4 How to deal with bad people 

1 Happiness

Happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient and is the end of the action. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.11)

1.1 Happy Life

(They were happy, the two of them. I’d been a fool to come between them. I might destroy them both if I were not careful. Humble happiness. A good mother and child. God, I thought, if you listen to the prayers of people like myself, grant me happiness once, only once in my whole life will be enough! Hear my prayers!) (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.124)

During the course of my life, I have wished innumerable times that I might meet with a violent death, but I have never once desired to kill anybody. I thought that in killing dreaded adversity I might actually be bringing him happiness. (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.45)

Why live years if happiness is in a day. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Os Irmao Karamazov (Editora 34)

The happy life is joy based on the truth. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.199)

1.2 Where it is found

There is great satisfaction in the knowledge of a life well spent and the memory of many things well done. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.217)

Since no one can say that this is a matter outside experience, the happy life is found in the memory and is recognized when the words are uttered. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.198)

The condition under which we are born would be favourable if only we did not abandon them. Nature’s interaction was that we should need no great equipment for living in happiness: every one of us is capable of making himself happy. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.166)

He aims to show that stoic ethics can have a transforming influence on the way you live and offers a powerful pathway to human happiness. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.0)

By a change for the better, it has become converted to that which cannot change either for the better or for the worse. That is what you alone are. You alone are in absolute simplicity. To you it is not one thing to live, another to live in blessed happiness, because you are your own blessedness. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.275)

1.3 How to make it constant 

The most luxuriantly fertile of all is that of our moral obligations - since, if we clearly understand these, we have mastered the rules for leading a good and consistent life. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.160)

Crates said “These people account one another happy because one does the opposite of the other; but I account myself happy because I no longer play either part, being neither the seller nor a buyer. (Diogenes - Oxford p.91)

Augustine says, quoting Varro, what other reason is there for doing philosophy but to be happy. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.10)

1.3a Renounce everything that lies outside the sphere of choice

There is one path alone that leads to happiness - and keep this thought at hand morning, noon, and night - it is to renounce any claim to anything that lies outside the sphere of choice, to regard nothing as being your own, to surrender everything to the deity, to fortune, to consign the administration of everything to those whom Zeus himself had appointed to carry out the task, and when you read, to refer your writing and your listening. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p244)

 If you’re nourished by thoughts such as these, what need do you have to enquire any longer as to where you are to find happiness, and where you will please God? Aren’t people just the same distance from God wherever they are? And wherever they are don’t they have just the same view of what is coming about. (Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook Oxford p.245)

1.3b Do not waste time

How late it is to begin living only when one must stop! What foolish forgetfulness of morality to put off well-considered plans to one’s fifteenth and sixtieth year, and to want to begin life at a point that few have reached. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.143)

1.3c Do not hope 

If happiness is the highest good of rational nature and anything that can be taken away is not the highest good - since it is suppressed by what can’t be taken away - Fortune by her very mutability can’t hope to lead to happiness. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.31)

1.3d Good fortune is Bad

Good fortune always seems to bring happiness, but deceives you with her smiles, whereas bad fortune is always truthful because by the change she shows her true fickleness. Good fortune deceives, but bad fortune enlightens. With her display of specious riches, good fortune enslaves the minds of those who enjoy her, while bad fortune gives men release thorough the recognition of how fragile thing happiness is. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.44)

1.4 How to deal with bad people 

Revenge is an admission of pain; a mind that is bowed by injury is not a great mind. The man who has done the injury is either stronger than you or weaker: if he is weaker, spare him, if stronger, spare yourself. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.23)

For the greatest punishment of wrongdoing is having done it, and no one is punished more severely than the man who submits to the torture of contrition. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.40)

Vengeance normally achieves one of two ends: it either brings compensation to the injured party or peace of mind for the future. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.208)

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