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Happiness

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The problem with the notion that one should do good because doing good leads to happiness is that, well, what if it doesn’t? Throughout human history, the greatest thinkers and theologians have each proposed a state of...
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Jane Austen’s heroines live, choose, and marry according to the highest wisdom about love that is ruled by principle, not convention—by the prudent mind, pure heart, and informed conscience rather than by the false prudence of the world preoccupied by money, image, lust, or self-interest...
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In Samuel Johnson's novel Rasselas, the eponymous character discovers that happiness does not derive from a beautiful place, luxurious palace, or constant entertainment, but depends upon a composed state of mind in possession of truth... Throughout the...
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Exacting self-examination should promote more realistic expectations in politics and life generally. If we are more honest with ourselves, we may understand that we are not trying to change the world but rather, ourselves...
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The beginning of a new year gives us a symbolic opportunity to mark the passing of the old and to look ahead. But the renewal of one’s soul and the growth of one’s character do not result from a mere calendar change...
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A Catholic, liberal-arts college’s course of study, being an integrated one ordered to and by natural and supernatural wisdom, is an excellent apprenticeship into the contemplative life, which does not replace the active life, but only crowns it and makes it worthwhile... Therefore do not be...
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The Bible does not speak of “happiness” as such, though it often speaks of “joy,” one of the signal characteristics which Jesus bequeathed to his disciples... In The Mind of the Maker, her brilliant book...
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Patience encourages us to accept humbly that we will not be as good as soon as we want to, due to being part of the fallen world. This understanding need not lead to despair, but rather to hope, for if we keep patiently at it, eventually we...

A free mind is necessary for our personal happiness, for living a good life, the life suited to our nature... Fifty years ago I shook the hand of our president,...
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“Music, too, is nature.” - Sound and Symbol by Victor Zuckerkandl This essay explores the differences between two perspectives on music: one ancient, one modern. The texts I have chosen are Plato’s...
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It's called FOMO: that sneaking Fear Of Missing Out on the experience that will make us feel happy and fulfilled—what Aristotle calls “human flourishing.” It comes from a belief that happiness comes from something we do, and...
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I have been reminiscing a lot lately, probably a sign of my age. But I recently came to recall an episode in my earlier life before I returned to St. John’s College as...

Give us grace to endeavor after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forbearance and patience of which our blessed savior has set us the highest example; and which, while it prepares us for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will...
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The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America, by Arthur C. Brooks (Broadside Books, 2015) The great Elton Trueblood, who really did write about happiness, said...