Q.All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean
to you? Explain with examples.
The approach: Please note the answer to this question can not be objective. Ethics is an applied paper and answers to such questions have to be subjective. Only overall ethical bent of mind could be inferred from the content
The answer: “Human beings are pleasure seeking animals. We strive for it and dislike unhappiness and try to avoid pain of any kind”
This perspective on human behavior is known as hedonism. It assumes that every human being invariably follows this principle while dreaming and deciding about his life. This is the fundamental human nature. This is in fact instinct of every animal including humans.Hedonistic views of human motivation are appealing as most human behaviours are seemed to be guided by these basic instinct. This is however a perspective , it can not be all true or false. In my view, this is generally true.
We however are the most evolved species on the earth and are intelligent and have intellect based empathy and awareness. When we know that people are dying of disease and suffering, we become concerned . We try to do something for them even when our comforts are compromised. Gautam Buddha gave up his luxury and started searching the ways to control the suffering of the weak . Nelson Mandela took A long walk to freedom and spent the entire youth life behind the war. This I don’t think was due to their hedonistic desires. Ang Sang has been in custody and could not attain her husband funeral . She told the people of Myanmar that she is fighting for the freedom from fear ….These examples don’t validate the generalized view that we only aspire for happiness.
Human beings of course seek pleasure but this pleasure is not animal like and when times come we do opt for pain also for the larger good. This altruism involves voluntary sacrifice also.
In my view, happiness is rooted not only in self but in ourselves along with our fellow creatures. Click to see its video lecture in Hindi medium
By: Arun Kumar, Mentor, Beautiful Mind- IAS Institute