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Don Accor

Professor Graham

Rhet 1312 Composition II

14 April 2017

What is the Important Thing in Life?

In todays present time, people have the tendency to find happiness in the

wrong things. Some people may even go on to argue that being happy is not the

most important thing in life. If happiness is not the most important goal, what other

materialistic thing could possibly fit the criteria? Most differential perspectives

would go on to say that being successful is the most important. To put it differently,

making enough money to sustain themselves and their families. However, what

good is any gain in life, if it does not rid you of any depression, despair, or any form

of unhappiness? Happiness is the most important goal in life, whether it Is in the

home, at school, during our different careers, or even when we have social time. To

obtain some closure, we will be analyzing a few credible sources and what they

think about this controversial subject.

While observing 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Happy Right Now, by Scott

Christ, I was able to gain some insight about why happiness deserves the highest

emphasis of importance. Scott Christ is a health and wellness writer. Christ is also

the founder of his own official website, The Healthy Eating Guide. He works to

improve the lives of others physically, as well as he does mentally and emotionally.

One observation made from his article was that happiness is the most important

thing simply because life could change spontaneously for the worst at any moment.
For example, incontrollable variables such as disease, loss of a career, or even a

death of a loved one can happen to anyone at any moment. Additionally, there are

just some things in life that cannot be prevented, treated, or escaped, so why not

be happy and appreciative while you can? This pushes me to another point he

argues during his article, which is the fact that we are alive. This is a valid point

because no matter how bad things may seem, or how bad things actually are, at

least you are still alive. Although this may seem reasonable to say, there are still

people who cannot find happiness even though they are still breathing. This

contributes to the presumption that happiness is not easily obtained. To support this

claim, are you aware that the Global Poll statistically shows that only 53% of the

entire world is happy? Before analyzing this any further, we should ask the question,

what is happiness? It is essential to be on the same page when discussing this

specific concept because it may affect everyone differently. We are independent

thinkers, meaning everyone has their own definition or explanation about what or

why something may be. Well, the Websters Dictionary defines the term happy as

feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc. Now that we

have defined the term on a universal scale, happiness is basically the state of

being happy. This bridges the gap of any confusion, and allows us all to be on the

same page while focusing on the facts.

Furthermore, while examining the rhetoric from Terence Irwins translation of

Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics, I discovered that he talks about happiness with the

same importance and severity but with a much broader perspective. Aristotle was

an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, who set the standard for many of our

philosophical grounds today. During his novel, he stated, Happiness, then, is not

found in amusement; for it would be absurd if the end were amusement, and our
lifelong efforts and sufferings aimed at amusing ourselves. (Aristotle 163). To put it

differently, Aristotle supports the fact that seeking personal gain or success is

independent of happiness, therefore putting it on a higher pedestal than anything

else that may seem more important. He is trying to convey that personal interests

or success is not more important than happiness because if they were, once we

endured those personal interests or successful endeavors, that would be the end.

There would not be any other motive or goal for us to aim towards. Aristotle also

argues that happiness is the most important goal in life because it is divine. He

explains this by mentioning that we seek everything for something, except for

happiness. For we choose practically everything for some other end; except for

happiness, since it is [the] end. (Aristotle 163). Any other achievement or

accomplishment is for some other good, whether it is for our own gain, or for others.

For example, we accomplish and achieve things for their reward, which is typically

status, or money. Money is necessary for our sustainment as human beings in this

world so I can understand why some people would think it is the most important.

Although concepts like this may be the most important goal to some people, it is not

the most important goal in life because it is only to obtain something else. When we

wish for things to get other things, it will only go on without an end. For instance,

an example would be obtaining a career to reap sufficient amounts of income. This

would require unending labor, because money is not infinite. Happiness, however, is

the most important goal because it is the only thing that can be sought for itself. It

is self-sufficient; therefore, it is not dependent upon anything such as your family

background, wealth, appearance, or anyone else but you. Other things can alter

ones choice to be happy, but consequently, it is ultimately up to you.


On the contrary, I stumbled upon an article called Happiness is Not More

Important Than Money, by Uyen Kha. Uyen Kha is an author and staff writer for the

UP Lab. She is also known for her efforts in writing the novel The Book of Truth.

During her article, she talks about how money outweighs happiness. During one of

her explanations, she stated Money isnt everything, but it sure trumps happiness.

This recalls what I explained previously, about people considering money to be the

most important thing in life. Perhaps if our society were not so based upon currency,

people would reconsider what is important. The point Kha makes about the

importance of money is intriguing. She asks the question How happy could I

possibly be writing novels in my shabby little apartment while my kids were eating

stale bread, and wearing hand me downs because I couldnt afford to buy them real

food, or decent clothing? This is a valid point because this is the reality of life. The

importance of money is so great that some people prefer it over happiness. But that

would vary from person to person if the only circumstance is financial stability. I

agree with Kha point of emphasis, but only to a certain extent because what about

the people who do not have to worry about their finances? Does that ensure that

they are happy? If not, do you think they would trade their lives from being more

fortunate, but miserable, for a less fortunate, but happy life? According to the article

Dont Envy the Super-Rich, They Are Miserable, by Robert Frank, his sources provide

some insight to the happiness of financially stable people. Robert Frank is an author,

and senior writer for the Wall Street Journal. The article included a co-study funded

by the Gates Foundation that studied at least 120 people with a net worth of at

least $25 million. The study required them to write responses to certain questions.

When it came to happiness, a specific respondent answered, If we can get people

just a little bit more informed, so they know that getting the $20 million or $200
million wont necessarily bring them all that theyd hoped for, then maybe theyd

concentrate instead on things that would make the world a better place and could

help to make them truly happy. A response like this is what makes me disagree

with the concept that money is the most important thing in life.

Further analysis of why happiness is the most important goal is also

mentioned in a video called Why Be Happy?, by Dennis Prager. He puts happiness

into a different perspective by asserting that happiness is not all about us, as

individuals, but for the people around us as well. During his speech, he states Our

happiness is affected by others, profoundly. It is also for this reason that he argues

we have a moral obligation to ourselves. I understand where Prager is coming from

because if you are happy, chances are the people around you will be affected by it.

On the other hand, if you are unhappy, you will negatively impact the people around

you, which is why Prager argues that it is our moral obligation. An example to

support this would be during the video, Prager asserts that It is no fun being raised

by an unhappy parent, or being married to an unhappy person, or being the parent

of an unhappy child, or working with an unhappy person. This explains that

happiness is not only the most important goal, but it is necessary collectively.

We are all diverse and similar in our own ways. Different things make

different people happy, and different people interpret the concept of happiness

differently. According to The Self-Regulation of Moods: Second Thoughts on the

Importance of Happiness in Everyday Life, psychologists and authors Ralph and

Maureen Wang Erber, argues The assumption we have in mind is the widely

accepted idea that humans, by and large, seek pleasure and avoid pain.

Furthermore, to live with whatever accomplishments or failures we have obtained,

we seek what is even more important than those, happiness. As a result of doing
research, heeding numerous forms of rhetoric, and considering the opposite side of

my argument, my assertion still stands that happiness is the most important goal in

life. Not only do we owe it to ourselves, but we owe it to the people around us as

well. Ironically, it is even a part of our unalienable rights protected in the

Declaration of Independence. We have the right to life, liberty, and the most

important thing of all, the pursuit of happiness.

Works Cited
Aristoteles, and Terence Irwin. Nicomachean ethics. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing

Company, Inc., 2000. Print.

Christ, Scott. "7 Reasons Why You Should Be Happy Right Now." Lifehack. N.p., 15

Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

Erber, Ralf, and Maureen Wang Erber. "The Self-Regulation of Moods: Second

Thoughts on the Importance of Happiness in Everyday Life." The Self-

Regulation of Moods: Second Thoughts on the Importance of Happiness in

Everyday Life. Volume 11.Issue 3 (n.d.): 142-48. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

<http://0-web.b.ebscohost.com.iii-server.ualr.edu/ehost/detail/detail?

sid=615dc726-6c81-42db-afa7-

603695e629c4%40sessionmgr103&vid=0&hid=129&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc

3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=4715284>.

Frank, Robert. "Dont Envy the Super-Rich, They Are Miserable." The Wall Street

Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 09 Mar. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

"Global Poll Shows 53% of the World Is "Happy" -- But What About the U.S.?"

Marketwire. N.p., 15 Nov. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

Kha, Uyen. "Happiness is Not More Important Than Money." The Up Lab. N.p., n.d.

Web. 17 Apr. 2017. <http://theuplab.com/2014/11/17/happiness-not-more-

important-than-money/>.