That in which a man rests, as in his last end, is master of his affections since he takes therefrom his entire rule of life. – St Thomas Aquinas
I am happy to announce the upcoming publication of my book Happiness: A therapists reflection on St Thomas in the autumn of 2017. In this book I present St Thomas’ doctrine of human happiness found in the first five questions of the second part of his Summa Theologica.
In this book we will consider:
- Why is it important that happiness is mans last end?
- What is free will?
- In what ways wealth, health, power, and pleasure play a role in our happiness.
- What is the source of human happiness.
- And much more!
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From the prologue
It is popular in our day, and it may well have been popular in every day, to asks the question, “What makes me happy?” Not a week goes by when our FaceBook feed doesn’t offer us a post with the title, “‘Five secrets of happy couples” and rare is the day that Twitter does not tweet us “How to be happy in your twenties.” There is no limit to the inspirational quotes and positive aphorism that surround us moving us, even commanding us to be happy. Yet at the end of each day, as we lull our overstimulated minds to sleep in the soft glow of our phones we find that we are still asking ourselves, “When will I be truly happy?”
While this question has never been far from men’s hearts there is a greater anxiety motivating contemporary man’s search for an answer. Perhaps the abundance of options available to us, and the inevitable dissatisfaction that follows upon the possession of each has compelled us to conclude that lasting happiness is a myth, a lie, that like so many others has to be abandoned on the threshold of adulthood. And yet every morning we awake begins another round of activities meant, at best, to distract us from this yearning to be happy.
Let us take a new road in our pursuit of happiness, or rather an ancient road which the light of our phones are too weak to illuminate for us. It is a road laid down by Aristotle and trod by generations of men such as Boethius and St Thomas Aquinas. It is a road that seeks first to understand, “What is this thing we call happiness?” In answering this question rather than assailing us with an onslaught of articles and endless volley of motivational phrases we will seek first to know what is essential to happiness.
by Daniel Johnson