One thing that has grown with me over these past few months is my Joy.

Its visible. I have had it mentioned to me and agree. However, its not simply happiness.

Aristotle contends that happiness is not temporal nor emotional based. Something that builds up due to leading the virtuous life. This life which he described is lived in the golden mean. A moderate standing upon extremes--the virtues.

I agree with his description of happiness being something more substance based. We have put an emotional and fleeting description upon this word--happiness-- that was never meant to be.
But, I'm not sure that he nailed happiness, eudaimonia, completely correctly. The happy life. Virtue based ethical theory that answers one of the deepest questions asked by man kind. What does it mean to live; to really live a quality, worthwhile, meaning filled life?

Joy would much better translate to his description of happiness (eudaimonia) in his works, in my mind at least. Yet, how this joy is obtained is still missing something.

I can only judge from my personal experience where I can say that Aristotelian virtue ethics are good but in saying that they lead to joy would be wrong on my part.

We have been discussing the happy life and what Christ says on the topic in our wednesday group (Nooma). While the basic plot is hardly philosophic it is founded in truth. There is theology there, Rob is sweet enough to not delve into it, but it is visible to someone looking for it.

I can truly say the life lived for another is a truly happy life. A life devoted to Christ, in particular, is one that is truly joyful. Where I have, counter to western philosophy and modern consumerism, decided to dedicate my efforts to building church and my relationship to God I have seen the material and emotional aspects of my life added to in a greater measure.
I haven't felt truly homesick in months. After a year here, I spend some time focusing my talents and efforts on something other than me and I am truly happy.

This doesn't mean I am going to decide to become a nun, offer everything I have to charity and shave my head. For one, I like my hair. Two I think that the desires I have for a relationship aren't terrible ones nor are my affections for all things nice.

Yet, for the first time in my life its easy to not focus on what I have or not. What I look like or not. Where I am, who I am with, what I am doing. I believe that my time spent is time spent doing worth while things. And to be completely honest, I enjoy what I am doing.

I am not saying everything has been solved. I struggle with pride still (I know, shocking after the beating delivered by my MA) and planning for the future.
Everything in my being wants to plan the next 2 years out. Work, schooling, travels, friends, family, living situations, and whatever else you can fit in a google calendar until 2014.

I love starbucks but I also am a intellectual and teacher at heart. I am curious (downgraded from restless) about where those loves are going to lead me. I get a lot of degrading comments about working there, from customers to fellow course mates. (oddly enough, unemployed course mates)

This all to say that I am not obsessed with developing my virtuous side. I've settled that it truly is impossible to learn. This was something that even Aristotle himself struggled with. Only the truly virtuous could teach others to become the same. Yet, one did not entirely know when he became virtuous. Even if you had decided that you lived out the golden mean your happiness could be taken from you in circumstances (either by choice or financial loss) He cites Priam from Troy in the Nicomachean ethics. He loses his children, kingdom, and life. Was Priam truly happy?

The parallels are shocking for me. I feel like it is blatantly obvious and stupid of me for not seeing this sooner. Priam failed at happiness because his world, life, and value was added amongst things that are temporal. Each would have failed eventually, a truth that no man can argue against.
God sent his Son to earth. A KING among kings who lost everything without cause. His position in his kingdom, family when his father forsook him, and his life. However, where western philosophy is shaken at the core is that he was and is truly happy. He willingly laid this down. Once he had done so, all the things were added back to him.

Things that poor Priam could have never have dreamt of--joy without a time limit.

Happiness that does not rely on his temporal situation.

No, Priam was not truly happy nor did he live the good life. He was virtuous but not enough. No human can truly be virtuous enough to cause himself to be joyful.

When the things are removed from your life does your happiness go with it? Are you like Priam?

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