Discussion 9: Augustine on True Happiness.

Question: What is true happiness? Would Augustine agree with your answer? Explain

Expert Answer:

Augustine on True Happiness.

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True happiness is having peace of mind. This involves doing what is right and getting the desired results. For instance, when I set a goal to start a business, implement the goal and make a profit, and long-term success in the business, then I feel happy. However, the means through which I created the business will determine if I am truly happy or my happiness is just short-lived. For example, I may have done business through unscrupulous behavior or selling unsafe products to unsuspecting customers. I think this is not true happiness because the thought of ruining people’s lives to make money will be haunting me.  Furthermore, I will not have peace of mind to enjoy my wealth. True happiness, therefore, is having peace of mind, thinking clearly and enjoying life without guilt feelings.

Augustine would agree with my answer because he says that truth is inward. He says that true happiness involves finding the truth, and the truth is found by finding God. Augustine says that people search for happiness in the outside world- at the mountains, rivers, seas, and stars, to find God but God is within us. Augustine means that to find true happiness, we must search for God, and God is within us. Augustine agrees with my answer that happiness is having peace of mind. This is because if we search for God within us, we will have peace of mind, thus having true happiness. Furthermore, Augustine’s definition of true happiness is consistent with the Bible in Proverbs 23: 7 which states, “As a man thinketh is his heart, so is he.” If a person thinks about good thoughts such as love and kindness, good things follow him or her. Conversely, if a person thinks about bad thoughts such as envy, lust, and hatred, bad things follow him or her.

To acquire true happiness, we should think good thoughts, that is, thoughts of love towards one another. When we love another, we cannot do harm. Also, when we love one another, we get true happiness, which comes with peace of mind. Furthermore, Augustine says that true happiness is associated with remembering the good things that he did and a joyful life that he lived. Therefore, finding true happiness involves seeking God in prayer, and living in accordance with God’s will. Living according to God’s will develops feelings of love, and the desire to live a morally upright life. True happiness brings about serenity, which is the ultimate peace of mind.

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