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The Condition of Happiness Essay

Thomas Szasz once said, “Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly often attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children and by children to adults.” Though this was said in 1996, it is still true 17 years later. Happiness is in fact real although, groups of people tend to view other groups of people as more happy, such as Szasz’ example of children to adults. As I myself am still slightly within childhood I can atest to Szasz’ point, using my more extreme view of adulthood from when I was younger. As a child it is often easy to think that adults are more happy, considering in a childs mind an adult can do whatever they please (most importantly in a child’s mind going to bed whenever they please). As for Szasz’ reference to adults attributing happiness with childhood it can be easily seen. Because of my age I am in between adulthood and childhood and that makes it easier to see both sides.

Even now I have started to attribute happiness with childhood. In childhood one has less responsibility and therefore, in an adult’s mind, a child is happier. Both groups of people romanticize what the other has because they themselves do not have it. Often adults forget the utter lack of control children have in their lives and children simply do not understand the kind of responsibility that adults have. Because both parties are ignorant to the plights of the other it becomes easy to view the other as happier. When, in reality, if both parties could balance the others perspective then they would find that neither is really happier than the other. So, then they may be able to find more happiness within their own lives. Happiness is only an imagined condition when based upon ignorance.


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