Is happiness just the sum of individual pleasures? essay sample


Defining happiness seems easy, however, some philosophers give quite an intricate answer to this question. Happiness is commonly related to pleasure and content; scientists even say that it is a tangible phenomenon that can be defined measuring the level of serotonin and other chemicals in the brain of humans and animals with higher nervous activity. From the physiological perspective, happiness is the same as a pleasure on the broad scale. Nevertheless, philosophers tend to separate passing pleasures from more mature and permanent sense of happiness.

Apparently, happiness is a different thing for every person who feels it, therefore, it’s definition is subjective. Someone may feel happy for a few minutes until some external factors make them devastated; the others consider themselves happy for years because some factors bring a continual contentment. In this case, happiness is an appreciation of needs that have been satisfied once. But, perhaps, not all people are likely to be satisfied with their life in the long run. For many of us, simple pleasure is a potent mechanism that makes us happy.

Physicians do not support the view that happiness is as subjective as we think. As we satisfy various needs, some of our brain cells produce serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are proven to cause elation, so why do not we equal pleasure to happiness? From the social perspective, it is not limited merely to physiological needs. Psychologists measure happiness with an estimated level of life satisfaction. No blood test or screening will show how much we are satisfied with our current achievements, nevertheless, we still consider ourselves happy.