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The Human and Cultural Pursuit of Happiness

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Essay title: The Human and Cultural Pursuit of Happiness

Throughout history, cultures have strived for the fundament to a good and happy life. During their search, the various cultures eventually created their own basis to leading what they deemed, a harmonious life. The beliefs founded by these cultures varied from one to another, each arguably correct in its own way. For example, various citizens of the Roman Empire depict their view of attaining this good and happy life. This life is lead by the belief that life must be lived in the present, not concerning oneself with the impending reality of death; death is simply the way of nature. These ideals are described in Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, as well as Epicurus' "Letter to Menoeceus". Even the ancient Egyptians had strict laws by which to abide in order to achieve a successful life, which in turn lead to eternal happiness in the afterlife. These ancient Egyptian ways of life are exemplified in "Spell 125" of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Finally, the ancient Greeks believed that a life lived in the pursuit of knowledge and love was a life not wasted. This idea can be seen in the Symposium by the famous Greek philosopher Plato. Although the methods to achieve a good and happy life are vastly different from each culture, no particular ideal could be deemed invalid. The cultures of Rome, Egypt, and Greece each define the path to living a good and happy life in different ways, yet many of the ideas coincide with each other and thus are all correct methods of life in their own way.

The Roman method to attaining a complete and joyful life can be realized clearly through Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. Happiness in life can only be achieved when people truly knows themselves, because as Aurelius states, "If you won't keep track of what your own soul's doing, how can you not be unhappy" (Aurelius 19). This shows the Roman concern for living a good and happy life, as people must always know where their soul morally stands in the nature of the world. This is a consistent theme that can be seen throughout Roman culture, as they truly believed that in order to judge other people's actions, one must judge themselves first and foremost. Secondly, the Romans believed that

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