Elements of happiness: Is there a catch?
What are elements of happiness? There are disagreements among authors and researchers but among them Curl Jung is probably the most prominent. Curl Jung was asked by journalist Gordon Young “What do you consider to be basic factors making for happiness in the human mind?”
Jung stated five elements that are:
- Good physical and mental health.
- Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.
- The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.
- Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.
- A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life
Some other prominent scholars like author John Stuart Mill agree with Jung, I don’t agree with all the elements as I find some elements are incomplete and some are not exactly right.
Good health does not necessarily mean that people are capable of doing pleasant things. A person with sound body and mind can be unable to sexual pleasure. A homosexual can be heathy, too. Sound health is necessary for happiness but it cannot always bring happiness.
On the other hand, people with chronic diseases can be relatively happy. I have seen many diabetic patients are living happy life.
I also disagree that ordinary standards of life can make people happy. People are not unhappy because of their own status. People are unhappy because other people have better status. It is always about comparing with others. When other people have more social prestige because of very good job, good life and belongings, then it is difficult to be happy, It is always comparing and competition that drive life. Even excellent job and economy are not enough.
Jung gives importance to abstract feelings and virtues and relate them to happiness. I am not sure if those feelings can bring happiness. Most of the people do not have those values. To be happy one has to possess both material and abstract belongings.
In later stage Jung made some reservations and argues that under certain circumstances presence of all factors cannot guarantee happiness. He adds “No matter how ideal your situation may be, it does not necessarily guarantee happiness.”
His arguments “The more you deliberately seek happiness the more sure you are not to find it.” Lacks validity. Happiness is a choice, it demands motivation to seek things that make people happier. I don’t agree with his view. I have seen all my life, those people who wanted to be happy, they became.