"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The authors of the American Declaration proclaimed happiness to be one of the essential rights that make life worth living. William James, the first American psychologist, echoed this emphasis on happiness: "If we were to ask the question: 'What is human life's chief concern? One of the answers we should receive would be: 'It is happiness.'" Every philosophical and religious system has offered its pathway to happiness for the individual and the group. Happiness has been related to pleasure, refuge from pain, intellectual contemplation, union with God, friendship, children, wealth, honor, successful activity, and even state burial with statues! Today, scientists have joined the dialogue to seek answers about what contributes to happiness or, as they call it, "subjective well-being".
If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence. – Aristotle The concept of happiness--while difficult to define-- is obviously here to stay. But the desire for happiness can set up expectations that are often hard to fulfill. The right to pursue happiness was conceived of as an inalienable right; the entitlement that everyone be happy was never promised. As captured by Eric Hoffer, a misguided search we hope to provide a framework that will guide you in your personal pursuit of happiness.