• All posts,  Well-being

    Finding meaning in life

    What do humans need to be happy in life? The argument has sparked numerous debates for centuries. Some have argued that we can be happy so long as our basic needs for food and shelter and social connection are taken care of. Others have argued that we can be happy even in the face of indescribable suffering so long as we know how to control and guide our own minds. Over the last 70 years, more and more psychotherapists have come to the conclusion that human beings cannot be happy without a sense of meaning in life. I think this goes too far. Meaning is only one of the paths to happiness.…

  • All posts,  Well-being

    In pursuit of happiness

    Since the time of Aristotle, great thinkers have discussed two types of happiness. One type can come from chocolate, an expertly made cup of coffee, a spot of sunbathing, or a good back scratch. Such things are said to bring hedonic happiness. If we were being a little less pompous, we might say ‘pleasure’. Hedonic happiness might also be identified in the absence of pain and suffering. The pleasure of a good night’s sleep is often unavailable to us when we have some important matter pressing on our minds. The other kind of happiness is eudaimonia, which Prof Daniel Robinson (Georgetown and Oxford) has referred to as ‘living a flourishing…