Throughout history, happiness has been equated regularly with the highest historian Darrin M. McMahon argues that our modern belief in happiness is the. An intellectual history of man’s most elusive yet coveted goal. Historian McMahon argues that our modern belief in happiness is a recent development, the. “Excellent history” —The Economist. “From Herodotus and Aristotle through Locke and Rousseau down to Darwin, Marx and Freud. The musings on happiness.

Author: Daijin Tudal
Country: Brunei Darussalam
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Environment
Published (Last): 25 February 2015
Pages: 62
PDF File Size: 1.98 Mb
ePub File Size: 6.86 Mb
ISBN: 853-8-74682-958-2
Downloads: 27424
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Aragal

Throughout history, happiness has been equated regularly with the highest human calling, the most perfect human st Today, human beings tend to think of happiness as a natural right. Jun 06, Ruth rated it liked it Shelves: As always, happiness proves elusive. A History happineas a scintillating course in the history of ideas that invites us to consider paintings, poetry, even the plaster mask of Beethoven.

It was shortly thereafter that Voltaire produced his dark masterpiece, Candide, which mocks the pretension that this is the best of all possible worlds.

It might not exist for much longer. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Although the philosophers of the principal classical schools sought valiantly to minimize the role of chance as a determinant of human happiness, they were never in a position to abolish it entirely.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. I have to admire an author even willing to tackl It’s extremely challenging to undertake a topic as broad as happiness and what human thought has been from Socrates up to the present time. It was in the eighteenth century, accordingly, that the human and social sciences were born, and so it is hardly surprising that observers turned their attention to studying happiness histry similar terms.


The musings on happiness of these and dozens and lesser thinkers are lucidly presented in fine, sturdy prose that is? In his conclusion McMahon enumerates as one of the causes of that ‘culture of unhappiness’ the disappearance of the great narratives: Yet it’s only within the past two hundred years that human beings have begun to think of happiness as not just an earthly possibility but also as an earthly entitlement, even an obligation.

Happiness: A History

This is not a democratic conception of happiness. Borrowed from Central Library in Phoenix. Pleasure is the goal though keep in mind pleasure is defined by him as minimizing pain by living a simple life in the country -Stoics: I hietory learned a lot about the people discussed and about my own conceptions and misconceptions of what constitutes happiness.

Throughout, McMahon strikes just the right balance of seriousness and irony, of sympathy and detachment, capturing that elusive combination of nobility, cupidity, and futility that has always attended the human quest for earthly contentment.

But there is a crucial difference between their ideas of happiness and ours.

Darrin M. McMahon

McMahon Limited preview – So, it may be better to join another, lately rather fashionable look at happiness: This was a liberating perspective. Rarely have I encountered such adrrin ambitious work of historical writing that is at once so instructive and entertaining. Feb 12, Renate rated it it was amazing.

Apr 19, Dan Rivas added it. Sep 18, Michael Fong rated it it was ok.

Art is the only happiness i. I’m a bit less inclined wanting to see a more science-based perspective, but then this book never ports to being that! What you can learn from this historical overview is that the pursuit of happiness in the West is considered to be the core of human existence, but the hlstory of happiness has been filled in in many different ways, and also about the way happines achieve this blessed state very divergent opinions exist.


These are things that the older traditions knew—in the West and the East alike—and that we have forgotten.

A History of Happiness by Darrin M. McMahon, Ph.D. — YES! Magazine

But there have been downsides as well. It seems that when we want to be happy all of the time, we can forget that the pursuit of happiness can entail struggle, sacrifice, even pain. This book gave a good explanation of ideas from Aristotle to Lock to Darwin to Marx to Nietzsche to Freud, etc and is well written. It is a striking fact that in every Indo-European language, without exception, going all the way back to ancient Greek, the word for happiness is a cognate with the word for luck.

Approached, yes, seized, never. Sep 03, Roslyn rated it it was amazing. His excellent work may stimulate us to take stock of ourselves and the paths we have trod in pursuit of happiness.

I loved this book. Not a bad read for those that like more classical thought or western tradition.