"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

07 August 2017


Homer, The Nooning, 1872

Happiness does not lie in amusement; it would, indeed, be strange if the end were amusement, and one were to take trouble and suffer hardship all one's life in order to amuse oneself. For, in a word, everything that we choose we choose for the sake of something else--except happiness, which is an end. Now to exert oneself and work for the sake of amusement seems silly and utterly childish. But to amuse oneself in order that one may exert oneself, as Anacharsis puts it, seems right; for amusement is a sort of relaxation, and we need relaxation because we cannot work continuously. Relaxation, then, is not an end; for it is taken for the sake of activity.

The happy life is thought to be virtuous; now a virtuous life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement. And we say that serious things are better than laughable things and those connected with amusement, and that the activity of the better of any two things--whether it be two elements of our being or two men--is the more serious; but the activity of the better is ipso facto superior and more of the nature of happiness. And any chance person--even a slave--can enjoy the bodily pleasures no less than the best man; but no one assigns to a slave a share in happiness--unless he assigns to him also a share in human life. For happiness does not lie in such occupations, but, as we have said before, in virtuous activities.



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