Aristotle8217s Nicomachean Ethics
Throughout Aristotles life and career as a philosopher, he modified and formulated many ideas that deal with the psyche and state of the mind and body. One of the most prevalent ideas that he studied was the quest for happiness. He had many theories about it, but most merged to become the Nicomachean Ethics
As Socrates also believed, Aristotle thought that the life of the philosopher was the most pleasant and had the potential to bring the most happiness to oneself. Happiness is a state that is interpreted differently by each person. Aristotle describes happiness as a final end meaning that is not chosen as a means to something else. As health is the goodness, or completeness, of a persons body, happiness is the goodness of a persons soul. For that reason, one should not seek happiness in itself, but should seek deserving to be happy. This is the same as one not seeking health, but deserving the health by exercising and eating correctly.
Aristotle believes that the amount of happiness one experiences is in direct relation to the substance and importance of the daily activities that we perform. The question then is, how is a person supposed to know which activities to partake in? According to Aristotle, we should fill our lives with activities that require the exercise of our reason, or intelligence. Another belief of Aristotles is that a person wishing to attain true happiness must first learn how to use his unique gift of intellectual thought to its greatest extent. The philosopher is thought to have the most pleasant life because he seeks knowledge only for the sake of knowledge; not to further himself, but only to gain more knowledge.
The highest intellectual intelligence is Sophia, or knowledge of the natural world. This formal cause of happiness is valued over the other because the highest sort of activity is knowing the best aspects of the world which comes only through philosophical knowledge. Aristotle believes that the life of contemplation is the most superior way of life for humans. If an activity is not done for its own sake, the activity becomes inferior. Aristotle says, Those who have knowledge tend to spend their lives more pleasantly than those who seek it.
This life is considered to be superior to any other on the human level because understanding is something that is divine, or god-like. Aristotle says, If understanding is something divine in comparison with a human being, so also will be the life that expresses understanding be divine in comparison with human life. Aristotle has taught therefore, that the quest for true happiness comes not from the search but from the lifestyle that merits it.