"The restless search for wealth, power, fame and office produces unhappiness in all but a tiny minority"by AC Grayling / January 7, 2015 / Leave a comment
The translation of Aristotle’s eudaimonia as “happiness” is regarded by most philosophers as inadequate to capture the sense of wellbeing and well-doing—of active flourishing—that he intended by his use of the term. The subject of wellbeing is as old as the classical tradition. It is a theme common to the ethical schools of the period: from Stoics and Epicureans to Cynics the aim was to achieve at very least ataraxia, “peace of mind” or more accurately “unanxiousness”, which by any account would be a minimum requirement for wellbeing, if not constitutive of it.
Philosophical reflection on the nature of eudaimonia and ataraxia has of late given way to the calipers and thermometers of quantitative social science. Wellbeing—measuring it, promoting it, teaching the skills that lead to it, comparing it across age groups and nations, distinguishing between the wellbeing of children, men, women, individuals and groups, and much besides—has become the subject of an industry. It is related to “Happiness Studies,” now officially part of university curricula and well-funded research projects. If people once chuckled at the King of Bhutan’s introduction in 19…