Thursday, April 6, 2017

Eudaimonia: The Upbeat Background Emotion

The material possessions and things that we achieve in life don’t give us the consistent feeling of happiness. The foreground happiness is fragile, as it should be. I mean, who would want to be happy all the time? I don’t! I want to feel all the possible fragments of emotions throughout the duration of my life. None of them should entirely cloud my emotional state throughout. 
Still, in the vaguest way, we all desire something in life. Something that is not quite tangible ... it is a state of mind that gives us the ultimate satisfaction of a life well-lived. The euphoria of getting a new possession dies out in a couple of days, you may think you got used to your new Car. It just doesn't make you feel the same as the moment you first bought it. Likewise. sometimes, relationships fade off to routine after a span of time especially when they are not taken care of routinely by people involved. Regardless the start of it gives us a sense of satisfaction. As if these things are some sort of instant and short -lived doses of that very desire. 

Satisfaction, perhaps, or the pursuit of happiness may be the nearest translation of the greek word Eudaimonia. It cannot be quite translated to the exact sense of the word but we get the gist of it. The state of emotion that we seek in life that makes us feel happy regardless of the instantaneous foreground emotion that we may be tackling. 
Aristotle, Greek Philosopher, Places this idea of Eudaimonia in the terms of being virtuous. I find myself in agreement with Aristotle. Doing the right thing is what makes life satisfactory. But what is the right thing? It appears to be obscure to say “Right thing”. Right thing can be presumed to be subjective. 
Aristotle said it to be the virtue of the golden mean. Pursuing the right balance between two extremes. Let’s take an example of criticism. While criticizing, one must find the balance in approach between the two extremes of sycophantically praising the given subject/object and rejecting the subject/object of criticism in a harsh way. The right balance would be between the two that will lead the criticism in a constructive direction and make room for improvement. In doing so the person who is criticizing is not only helping the person towards whom the critic is being made, but also himself. By doing the virtuous thing he/she is living a eudaimonic life. This principle can be applied in almost every aspect under the sun if we give it a thought ... love, relationships, pursue of goals, chores in everyday life. Eudaimonia is not a state that one reaches in life is the way of life that has to constantly be iterated.

I find this ancient Greek philosophy to be very much in sync with the modern psychology. Namely, Maslow's hierarchy of needs in order to attain self-actualization, but that is a topic for another day. 
What is your opinion on the goals of human life? Do you agree with Aristotle's idea of golden mean or do you have some other measures of defining virtue? Let me know in the comments section. 
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  1. I try not to have too many extremes - never too high or too low. Not always attainable but I try. Also, if I were happy all the time, would I really know I was happy? I'd have nothing to compare it to.

  2. Ok this is the post I started my morning reading with today and have to confess, my initial premise was oh this is too heavy!! But as I got caught up in the flow of words, it became clearer enough for me to start nodding my head as I read.

    I agree with Aristotles philosophy towards achieving a balance. But in a real world, it doesn't happen with 100% accuracy....


    Emu & the Entrepreneur

  3. I just thought an update of Maslow's hierarchy of needs could be my iPad balancing on the top!
    Thanks for visiting my A to Z Blogging Challenge 2017.

    A to Z Theme: Sharing Family History via #GenealogyPhotoADay
    By Fran from TravelGenee Blog

  4. Loved this word - Eudaimonia
    I agree totally with Aristotle. Only thing we can do is finding the right balance but it is alwyas so tough to implement
    I just loved this post

  5. Wow so much information.
    Thank you. I learnt a new word today :-)

  6. Thanks... With this article, I have added a word to my rather to my way of thinking!
    As rightly narrated by you, for a win win situation, one has to have a balance, a middle way...where in every one emerges happier...and dats eduaimonia! Life's lessons always point to this very concept as well!
    Coincidentally we also have a philosophical musing in our today's article...about happiness... You can find it at Collage Of Life

  7. I like the idea of balance, particularly in my dealings with others. I think it helps me be more compassionate if I pause to weigh the impact of my words and how I say them. But for me personally, I'm an emotional person. I like to embrace and own whatever it is I'm feeling regardless of how extreme it may be. It feels more like living to let myself experience those things. Wonderful, thought-provoking post. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

  8. For the Acholi in Uganda happiness is the land, singing, music, people...

    My focus this month is on the Acholi of Northern Uganda.A Piece of Uganda

  9. Hi,Karnika, it's a great post on the happiness or contentment. The term Eudimonia is new for me and I loved the term very much. liked the idea of balance in criticism. It's very important to maintain that. Best wishes.

  10. First I would like to say thank you for visiting my blog it was very kind of you. Secondly, well that is a new word with me also. I do try and remain happy all the time, but I'm an old grumpy bloke at heart so enjoy a good moan about stuff. . . .

    I hope your journey to Z goes well and continues to be as interesting . . . good luck.

  11. It's interesting how you linked ancient philosophy with modern life. Amazing how people have changed so much, yet remain so much the same.

    Is anyone always just one emotion all the time? That seems unlikely, and certainly unhealthy. How could happiness be appreciated if sadness was never felt?

  12. Eudaimonia! Beautiful :)
    Loved it!