A Response to “What is Happiness” by John Ciardi

  In his essay, Ciardi divides the idea of happiness into material and spiritual, as well as Eastern and Western; where Western being the more materialistic one, and Eastern leans toward the internal sense of joy. He acknowledges that different people register happiness in different ways. However, no matter what kind of happiness people try to achieve, it is the effort in the pursuit of happiness, the process of becoming happy that is essential.

  The author is spreading this idea to all age groups, since mostly everyone has experiences with happiness, no matter what kind. Thus Ciardi tries to let people see the true nature of what is it to be happy by letting them rethink about the idea of happiness. He lists the two extremes: materialistic and spiritual felicity. Almost everyone can belong to one of those two categories. The author expresses the idea that no one is purely composed of happiness, it is only partial in everyone. However, every individual has the ability to find joy, the process and effort of overcoming difficulty. Also, the author wants the society to find balance between the extremities. Ciardi tells the audiences that happiness can never be fully owned by men, but people can always pursue and find balance of it, which is where the idea of happiness truly lies. 

  I agree with Ciardi’s interpretation of happiness. I have seen many people who take the material and spiritual or Eastern and Western extremities always craving for more. They are always hungry. Thus combining and balancing the two extremities helps by making the extremities supplement for each other. Also, through many experiences I agree with Ciardi’s idea that no one can be in a constant state of joy, but conquering difficulties often brings a rich recompense of happiness. For example, after a long period of rigorous studying in my AP class, I made a good score, which provides me a special sense of joy. 

Link to essay: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxcQgjnJhCFGbzJEN1E3NDFxcU0/edit?pli=1


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