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Happiness

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Akeem Saunders
Kaplan University
HU300
Arts and Humanities
Laurie Smart-Pottle
21st September, 2013

What Does Happiness Mean?

The first person I choose to interview is Ms. J.Roker. She is between the ages of 30- 40 years-old and is a volunteer at the Exuma Land and Sea Park here in the Bahamas. She loves working for non-profit organizations especially those which gives back to the community and protects the environment. She has been a foreign volunteer for two years. Being enlisted in the military I am required to be deploy to various sub bases within and without the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Thus, my interview took place on Walderick Wells, a Cay located in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. I had known Ms. Roker, little under two weeks and was intrigue as to why she choose the Bahamas to work instead of America. Every morning she would open the park office and we would start a casual conservation. Her views on life were astounding and to see how her dog Grace interacts with her is just amazing. She always seemed very happy whenever I saw her and always was giving. When I think of what happiness looks like I always think of her. My second choice is Mr. D Bonaby. He is between the ages of 40-50 years and is an active member in the military. He has been deployed to the same sub base as me and he has been my superior for the past 10 years. He is a welder in the military and hopes to open his welding business when he retires from the military. This is the first time we are working hand in hand and he seems content with what he has accomplish in life. He always has a humorous side which never takes a break. Listening to him speak and reflect on the military of yester years brings such happiness to me as it has developed over the years. He is adamant in the development of his subordinates by giving them advice to enhance their career. He is always concern when his subordinates make mistakes advising them so they won’t make that mistake again. When he does this he always seems to be happy. This assignment gave me the perfect opportunity to get to know him better. And to see what affects or causes happiness is it your culture, your sex, or your age?
Interview with Ms. J. Roker
Question: How would you define happiness?
Response: Fulfilled satisfied loved, and content
Question: Has your definition of happiness change in the last 30 years?
Response: Yes
Question: Why did they change?
Response: Life experiences exposed me what really is important in life.
Question: Can you give me an example of one of the life experiences?
Response: When I was younger I taught being independence was important.
Question: What do you mean?
Response: During holidays I missed being around my family and I felt an empty void. I was under the impression getting away from my family would fill this void, but it was not so.
Question: What stops you from being happy?
Response: Lack of money and I can’t seems to be the person I want to be.
Question: Do you have a balance in your life?
Response: I think I have been lucky, in the sense that I have not lost a lot of people that I care about in my life. So the emotional part of life is balance. However, I admit that I can be more negative at times and I am working on being more positive.
Question: Is you happiness conditional?
Response: Sometimes it is, it shouldn’t be I wish I can be happy all the time.
Question: What makes you the happiest?
Response: My dog Grace.
Question: Why?
Response: The ability to take care of her and supplying her with all of her needs makes me happy.
Question: How important is achieving goals help in your happiness?
Response: The ability to pay rent and my bills on time makes me happy.
Question: Do you think your definition of happiness would change 20 years from now?
Response: They very well could change, as individuals there are so many choices we have that it is easy to find out what you don’t makes you happy. I can’t imagine how it will though.
Question: Do travelling make you happy?
Response: Yes, I use to go to school in New York City and that was too much for me, so I moved to Los Angles, which was too much for me, so I decided to come to the Bahamas and now it is not enough.

Interview with Mr. D. Bonaby
Question: How would you define happiness?
Response: I can’t define that
Question: So what makes you happy?
Response: Accomplishments and goals
Question: Has your definition of happiness change in the last 40 years?
Response: Yes
Question: Why did they change?
Response: It has changed tremendously, when I was younger it took less to make me happy; I got paid, dressed up went out and had a nice car. However, as I matured and start raising a family my responsibilities cause me to reevaluate myself and my happiness now came from my own family.
Question: What stops you from being happy?
Response: Not able to accomplish goals.
Question: Do you have a balance in your life?
Response: I think I can do more in terms of my spiritual life.
Question: Is you happiness conditional?
Response: I don’t think so.
Question: What makes you the happiest?
Response: Fulfilling accomplishments, goals and making money.
Question: Why?
Response: The ability to take care of my family and prepare for my retirement makes me happy.
Question: How important is achieving goals help in your happiness?
Response: The ability to enjoy life and show what I have accomplish after working for 25 years makes me happy.
Question: Do you think your definition of happiness would change 20 years from now?
Response: No because I am setting goals.
Question: Do travelling make you happy?
Response: Yes, living in a third world country I have had the opportunity to visit many other countries one being Haiti and I notice there happiness comes through surviving, staying alive, staying healthy and a simple meal makes them happy. Seeing this I have become grateful. thus my definition of happiness.
Question: Do you identify happiness with material possessions?
Response: I don’t, but I do get a feeling of satisfaction and relief when I purchase a tool for my hobby welding.

Essay
Akeem Saunders
Kaplan University
HU300
Arts and Humanities
Laurie Smart-Pottle
21st September, 2013

At some point in our lives we heard about fairy tales, all with the basic storyline and characters. There was usually a prince and princess involved in some mishap with a wicked individual. Then seemly, the prince and princess always lived happily ever after in the end. Stories like these have been imbedded in our minds from childhood creating a portrait of what life should be and maybe why we as humans desire to be happy. But the reality is, is happily ever after really possible to achieve? If so how do we get this and where does it come from? It seems as if everyone wants to be happy. However, sometimes, someone’s happiness might be another person nightmare. An example of this is Adolph Hitler whose happiness came through killing the Jews in Germany. In this paper I purpose to investigate the idea of happiness by interviewing two persons and asking them a variety of questions based on happiness. I will compare and contrast their responses to each question, then share my view on what happiness really is based on their response.

Defining Happiness

Jan Roker (JR) and Devlyn Bonaby (DB) definition of happiness were not similar; in that JR defined happiness as “Fulfilled, satisfied, loved, and content.” However, DB was not able to define happiness, but he expressed, what makes him happy, was accomplishing goals. JR’s response to this question follows the hedonism philosophy on happiness which equates happiness to physical pleasure and to the possession. (Janaro, &Altshuler, 2009, p. 386). DB seems to believe that accomplishing goals is happiness. Aristotle also shared the same ideology that happiness is reaching a goal. ("Aristotle and Happiness"). After this statement I then wondered if this was the case, can anyone then be truly happy once we finish one goal, we then move onto the next. So during this period of completing one goal and trying to accomplish the next are we then not happy?

Change of perspective

After this first line of questioning, I wanted to know if their definition of happiness were the same or changed over the years. Both of them agreed that their views of happiness had changed over the years. This led me to conclude that happiness cannot be truly achieved until the end of one’s life; as the feeling of happiness has the ability to change from day to day. JR stated when she was younger happiness revolved of her independence, now her happiness is being around her family and her dog Grace. DB noted that when he was young getting paid and partying made him happy. Now his family and completing set goals are what makes him happy. Not even the earth stay stagnated. The Earth moves around the Sun at about 67,000 miles per hour ("Curious about Astronomy,”2002). As both stated life experiences helped change their views. So is happiness really attainable?

So Sad

Or are we in equilibrium, so when we are not happy are we then sad. So I then posed the question “what stop’s you from being happy?” JR’s response to this was “Lack of money and I can’t seem to be the person I want to be.” DB’s response to this was “Not able to accomplish goals.” Again JR’s responses stem from hedonism philosophy. These response made me wonder if happiness is conditional. As JR further stating that “She is most Happiest we she is with her dog Grace.” showing conditions in happiness. However DB remained firm that happiness is only based on accomplishing goals. So is it that females are unsure about happiness?

Final Question JR and DB When I realized that there was levels to JR’s happiness I wanted to know what else made her happy so I asked whether traveling made people happy, JR replied with a story about her growing up in New York City then moving to Los Angeles and now to the Bahamas. She stated “Yes, I use to go to school in New York City and that was too much for me, so I moved to Los Angles, which was also too much for me, so I decided to come to the Bahamas and now it is not enough.” this made me more intrigued about her and real happiness. I also wanted to know if travelling made DB happy. His response then opened my eyes to understanding what happiness is really all about. He stated that “Yes, living in a third world country I have had the opportunity to visit many other countries one being Haiti and I notice their happiness comes through surviving, staying alive, staying healthy and a simple meal. Seeing this I have become grateful thus, my definition of happiness.” This response made me wonder if he was being genuine. So I asked him about material goods. He assured me that happiness based on material good can only make you happy if you are doing positive things with it.

Conclusion

After listening to both of them I came to the conclusion that happiness is relative and it is what you make out of life. Yes it is going to change, but during these change we must set goals and aim to achieve these goals; once this is done you will always be happy. We must not correlate happiness with gaining pleasure, as DB stated with his visit to Haiti just eating a basic meal made him happy .Happiness is therefore, attainable as long as we want it bad enough and know how to achieve it. Therefore, happiness is not based on sex, nationality, or age it seemed to be based on your morals.

References

Aristotle and Happiness. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://www.pursuit-ofhappiness.org/history-of-happiness/aristotle/
Curious About Astronomy: At what speed does the earth move around the sun? (2002, October). Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=356

Janaro, R. P., &Altshuler, T. C. (2009). The art of being human: The humanities as a technique for living (2nd ed.).New York, NY: Pearson Education Inc.

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