Discovering Your Hidden Aristotle on the Path to Find True Happiness

Mia Estrada

Aparicio-Afternoon

People share many common qualities that identify them as human beings such as breathing, eating, sleeping, and simply just living. But, what is it about thinking that makes humans so similar and different at the same time? Well, not every person has the same thought process, but they may easily think of the same things just in a different perspective. This connects to Aristotle’s point of the necessity of contemplative thinking in order to achieve true happiness.

Aristotle states, “Happiness, then, extends just so far as contemplation, and the more contemplation the more happiness is there in a life, not accidentally, but as a necessary accompaniment of the contemplation.” [1] He makes this statement not to confuse us into thinking that we must develop contemplation as most philosophers, like himself, but rather to encourage us to think deeper about fulfilling our individual potentials.

Every person is born with different talents, potentials, and purposes. Our main goal in life is to do our best in order to use those various talents to reach our ultimate potential and fulfill our true purpose. All of which can be done through contemplative thinking. In order to achieve this philosophical mindset, an individual must have the wisdom to know right from wrong. According to Aristotle, wisdom is the proudest virtue a person could attain because it exemplifies that the individual has experienced life and learned right from wrong in order to reach true happiness or “the ultimate good.” With his wise words he simply states, “The wise man will be happier than anyone else.” [2]

Some may think that being wiser or having the ability to think contemplatively pertains to getting a higher education or having a better career than others, but this could not be farther from Aristotle’s point of view. The idea of gaining wisdom is through life experience rather than going to private school your entire life. A person who graduated from Harvard Law and makes a significant amount of money compared to a person who works at a coffee shop and makes minimum wage does not automatically think more contemplatively or is considered wiser than the other.

A person must gain life experience and develop their wisdom overtime. Both of these amazing qualities, according to Aristotle, cannot be gained over night. Human beings cannot escape from doing the wrong thing, so they have many possibilities throughout their lifetime to gain knowledge about the world around them and are able to then determine whether their actions are right or wrong. Wisdom should be considered a means that helps you achieve true happiness. Therefore, a person who may consider themselves “happy” by constantly gossiping about others and not learning the consequences would be considered neither a wise nor happy individual.

In order to achieve true happiness, Aristotle excellently explains how a person must live out all of the virtues, think contemplatively about their actions towards others and gain wisdom through life experiences. Following all of these intricate, yet possible guidelines then you too can think like a philosopher and make your way to the ultimate good…true happiness.

1Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, Book X: Chapter 8

2 ibid

 

 

 

 

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