What is the key to happiness? Today, students are told they need money, power and of course…stuff! Many years ago students were taught something very different. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle thought achieving happiness occurs in a radically different way than many people today believe. He thought the key to happiness rested in deep self-reflection. As a matter of fact, he believed the best means to find true happiness was through studying philosophy.
Aristotle’s idea might sound like an odd one, but upon reflection, money, power and stuff does not always lead to happiness. There is even a good chance that the more money a person has, the more unhappy the person is! Aristotle spent a great deal of time observing happy people and he discovered that when they reflected deeply on who they were and how to live the best life possible, those people had achieved lasting happiness.
It is hard these days to find the time to really reflect on who we are and how we should live our lives. In fact, it seems that most of the media around us encourages us to do just the opposite. Many students have found that studying philosophy and philosophers, particularly thinkers like Aristotle, have led them to a greater level of happiness than money, power, or stuff. More and more students are studying philosophy in the US and around the world in order to find the key to happiness.
Aristotle would be the first one to admit that a philosophy degree isn’t the easiest path to a high-paying job and that the deep questions philosophers study aren’t easy. He also had good evidence, though, that the greatest happiness a person can achieve is achieved through hard-fought self-reflection. Students who are interested in studying the hardest and deepest questions that Aristotle and other great thinkers have struggled with should consider studying philosophy in the US.