HAPPINESS

WHAT IS IT?

2019-04-02

What is happiness? For Greeks eudaimonia, happiness, was something natural to man and a goal in life was definitely to reach it. For both Socrates and Aristotle, happiness and virtue were closely connected. Platone argued that 'happy people are happy because of justice, those who are unhappy are unhappy because of unkindness and evil'. In Convito, he says that those who possess goodness and beauty are called happy. To possess goodness and beauty for Platone meant to be virtuous, to be able to fulfill his tasks. For Aristotle happy people must possess both the goods of the body and those of the soul, but it is in the bliss of contemplation of divine things that you can find the most perfect happiness. Platone says that happiness of wise people cannot be disturbed by illnesses, nor by unfavorable circumstances, nor by human wickedness, because the essay is addressed to the highest goods, to the divine.

During time of Lent, we often return to the parable of the 'prodigal son'. As is well known, the youngest child asks his father to share his goods and leaves 'for a far away land' where he quickly wastes everything. What is that young man looking for during his journey? Is he looking for some goods or some prostitutes? He is trying to buy happiness, to look for happiness!

In the fifth century after Christ, Severino Boezio, a man of culture who made a great political career up to the role of Magister officiorum, practically the Prime Minister of Emperor Theodoric. He was by mistake accused of abetting for the Eastern empire, he was imprisoned in Pavia and then beheaded.When in prison, he got hit by misfortune and sadness, Boethius thus meditates: I had everything, honors, a wife, children ... and I lost everything, I am unhappy! But then he receives a visit from the Philosophy that reproaches him and makes him reflect on the true nature of happiness. The result is one of the greatest classics of Western philosophy and a pillar of our culture, The consolation of philosophy.Philosophy makes him reflect on how ephemeral is happiness based on richnesses and honors. You can lose richness and could be never enough, honors depend on others who can change their mind, pleasure lasts a few moments and then vanishes. Happiness has to come from something that cannot be lost and this is the Supreme Good, God Himself. 'Happiness is divinity itself, men become happy when they reach divinity. Every happy person is therefore a god, because he participates in divinity.Lets reflect on the truth of those words of this Consoler, of Philosophy. How many people we know are rich, famous, yet unhappy. How many seem to lack no good in this world and yet they are sad or depressed.Happiness cannot consist exclusively of external goods, not even only those of the body such as beauty and health. Only the one who returns to the Father, to that father of the prodigal son who awaits him with open arms, to that Father who is the Supreme Good, Almighty, Eternal, who the Beauty and the Good in himself and from whom all beauty originates, is happy. , good and truth. 'Return Israel' repeatedly urged the prophets of the Old Testament.

(Maximiliano Cattaneo)

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