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The sole purpose of this essay is to make a summary of chapter 5 taken from the book ‘The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science’. This summary is based on the main events of this chapter which has the heading ‘The Pursuit of Happiness.’
‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ dwells on a common-place where people get their happiness. This happiness cannot be obtained from any external things but only within people themselves. In the1990s, the psychologists agreed for a while with earlier/ancient sages, for example Epictetus and Buddha. They had the same argument that external conditions that an individual finds himself / herself in do not matter in the pursuit of happiness.
A new argument has been developed by Haidt who says that some external conditions matter in the individual’s pursuit of happiness. He goes further and identifies the various ways of improving happiness, such as spending one’s money well or resting. He argues that people from western countries put their emphasis on striving and action, and they do not go unrewarded.
The chapter talks about how people pursuit happiness in wealth that they own as well as the power that they possess. Haidt gives an example of a story from the Old Testament, from the book of Ecclesiastes. The story is about a king of Jerusalem who reviews his life and the way how he has been trying to get happiness. This king sought his happiness in riches and power. The author concludes that happiness cannot depend on power and the riches that one has, but there are other factors that attribute to one’s happiness in life.
The chapter also dwells on the way people search for happiness by pursuing their goals in life, such as completing ones education, getting promotion, being recognized by others. One gets happiness by achieving his/ her goals in life. But when one fails to achieve all his/her dreams, the only thing that is left is sadness. The scholar gives different examples that do not only concern people but animal as well. He concludes that happiness may result from achievement of one’s goals in life.
In this chapter the author identifies the sources of happiness that people try to point out for themselves in order to be happy. The chapter talks of wealth, power, and achievement of different goals. Thus, the scientist disagrees with the ancient notion of wisdom that happiness comes from the internal world. It proves that external conditions play an influential role in one’s happiness.