According to the Greatest Happiness Principle, the greater the joy and the less pain an activity creates, the better it is ethically. We should strive to take acts and implement policies that will result in the most satisfaction. The principle was first stated explicitly by the British economist John Stuart Mill.
He argued that "the only justification for any action is that it will make another person happy." And he added: "I think that my own mind and feelings are irrelevant to the question."
In other words, we should do what makes us feel good and not worry about others' opinions or expectations.
This idea has been applied to politics as well as individual life. Political philosophers have argued that the greatest good for the greatest number means that one should vote for candidates who will promote activities and institutions that will create the most pleasure and least pain for the majority of people. Thus, the greatest happiness rule is a moral guideline that recommends actions that will produce results that benefit the many over the few.
It's important to understand that this principle isn't about how much wealth you accumulate or how powerful you become. It has nothing to do with status. If the answer is happy, then you've done something right.
The maximum happiness principle is the highest moral norm established by classical utilitarianism (see Utilitarianism). That classical faith defines good as happiness (see Happiness) and believes that appropriate behaviors are those that increase the entire happiness of the community's members.
In other words, the best behavior is that which produces more overall happiness than suffering. The idea comes from the belief that we should always act in ways that benefit the most people possible. It follows, then, that we should also aim to avoid doing harm in any form.
This concept was first put forward by Jeremy Bentham in 1789 and has been influential in many different fields of philosophy, including ethics, political theory, and social psychology.
Bentham argued that since pleasure and pain are our only guides for action, we should seek out actions that produce more total pleasure over pain. This means that we should promote those things that will make people feel happiest even if these are not necessarily the same as what is best for them individually.
For example, if there is a cure for cancer but many people suffer from depression because of this treatment, then it would be wrong to give people cancer simply to save them from their sadness. Instead, we should try to find another way to help those people who are depressed.
Make the most of your enjoyment. Right behaviors are those that result in the most happiness, with each person's pleasure being equally significant. Those of happiness and suffering, or pleasure and agony, Your interests matter, but not more than anybody else's—equal treatment. Thus, your happiness counts, but so does everyone else's.
Do you believe that happiness is defined as the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of suffering, and that all activities are motivated by pleasure? No Because some behaviors are motivated by the understanding that something is the proper thing to do, even if it is unpleasant. Intelligence is the ability to understand what should be done and how to do it.
Happiness is a complex emotional state that involves feeling joy, contentment, and interest in life. At its core, happiness is about experiencing positive emotions like joy and love, and lessening one's experience of negative emotions like sadness and anger. Seeking out pleasurable experiences helps keep our brains healthy as we age because stimulation of the brain cells involved in thinking and memory makes them work harder which means they will live longer when we give them tasks to perform.
However, this definition of happiness does not take into account other factors such as money, status, or material possessions that some people pursue with the belief that they will make them happy. Instead, these individuals are pursuing "the good life" which includes physical comfort, adequate food, shelter, safety, and social interaction. When these needs are met, we have greater capacity for happiness than if we were struggling every day to meet our financial obligations, for example, since we would not have the time or energy to feel unhappy about our situation.
In addition, many people seek out drugs and alcohol to try and feel happier.
Happiness is the ultimate good, according to Aristotle, since it is something final, at the conclusion of the deed, and self-sufficient. We select it for its own sake, not for the sake of something else. Happiness is also the only good that can never be taken away from us.
Aristotle argues that because happiness is a state of activity or fulfillment, then this implies that a person cannot be happy while still doing something (or being something). A person can only be happy by doing or being something useful or pleasant. Happiness is not merely feeling pleasure, but rather enjoying life.
Furthermore, Aristotle claims that happiness is best achieved through one's nature, which is either intellectual or physical. Intellectually, this means using our reason to seek out and achieve what makes us happy. Emotionally, it means seeking out and allowing ourselves to feel joy, peace, love, and contentment. Physically, this means living in a state of health so that we have the energy to pursue these activities.
Finally, Aristotle says that happiness is not the same as pleasure. While pleasure is an essential part of happiness, they are not identical. For example, if I am healthy and wealthy, this will give me great pleasure, but it is not enough by itself to make me happy. I would need some form of activity or achievement that I enjoy too.
Epicurus, like Aristotle, believes that enjoyment is a goal in itself and the ultimate good of human life. Happiness, on the other hand, he associates with the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain rather than with the pure exercise of reason. According to him, true happiness cannot be found by seeking after pleasures which are only temporary but requires instead that we seek after truth and reality.
For Epicurus, true happiness does not depend on external factors such as wealth or status but on one's own understanding of reality and the ability to keep oneself free from fear. He argues that the major cause of pain is our desire for pleasure and that the way to overcome this desire is by recognizing that what we want cannot be had through action but only through inaction. He also claims that friendship is the basis of happiness because friends share everything with each other without expecting anything in return and they have no reason to harm each other.
In conclusion, Epicurus says that we should focus on living a tranquil life free from anxiety and fear and follow our natural instincts which will always lead us to feel happy.
Epicurus: An Introduction by Peter Eric Schwager (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
The Epicurean Tradition by John Cooper (Routledge, 1996)