Part 02: Happiness

Practical Philosophy - Happiness

We are all seeking happiness - how is happiness lost and how can we find it ? This course will provide you with a map to where it may be found.

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10 Weeks



Next Schedule

22nd April 2024 - 30th June 2024

'The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet' - James Oppenheim

This 10 week course is a follow-on from our Introductory Course and we explore the great theme of happiness.

With knowledge of our selves we begin to know the truth about ourselves and then it is possible to play whatever part the world may present to us fully and with ease and enjoyment. Without that knowledge, there will be no certainty in life, it will not be fulfilled and our destiny will remain unrealised.

The desire for happiness is such a driving force both in individuals and for mankind itself, that if we can understand the true nature of happiness, we have gone a long way to understanding ourselves and the nature of the world in which we live.

We consider questions such as:

What is happiness?
Is it natural to a man or woman?
How may it be experienced fully and how is it lost?
Is it permanent or transient?
What is the effect of gaining happiness at the expense of another person’s happiness?

Week 1

The True Nature of Happiness

How do we seek happiness? True happiness and unity. 'May all be happy. May all be without disease. May all see good things And none be in misery of any kind. - Prayer of the Wise

Week 2

Happiness and Society

Is happiness natural? Relationship between happiness and law. 'Man finds happiness only in serving his neighbour. And he finds it here because in rendering service to his neighbour, he is in communion with the divine spirit that lives within them.' (Tolstoy)

Week 3

The greatest happiness for the greatest number? Happiness and utilitarianism

Bentham, Mill. Gandhi’s criticism and an alternative view to utilitarianism. The art of listening: practical exercise. 'Everything that is in the heavens, on earth, and under the earth is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness. Love abounds in all things, excels from the depths to beyond the stars, is lovingly disposed to all things.' (Hildegarde Von Bingen)

Week 4

The distinction between pleasure and happiness

Hedonism, Epicurus and Plato. Necessary and unnecessary pleasures. The Upanishads: satisfaction in oneself. 'The object of the laws is to make those who use them happy.' (Plato)

Week 5

Live a true happy life

Happiness and Divine goods: wisdom, self-control, justice and courage. Human goods: health, beauty, strength and wealth.

Week 6

Rejoice in the Present

Introduction to Marsilio Ficino, renaissance philosopher. 'All things are directed from the Good to the Good. Rejoice in the present; set no value on property, seek no honours. Avoid excess; avoid activity. Rejoice in the present.' (Ficino)

Week 7

Lao Tzu

Introduction to Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching. Tea ceremony. Exploring effortless action.'The highest good is like water. Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.' (Lao Tzu)

Week 8

Happiness and Contentment

Introduction to Patanjali and the eightfold system of yoga, meditation, contentment. Finding happiness in work.

Week 9

Happiness and Work

The principles of work in action. How could you be happier at work? What do the wise say about this?

Week 10

True Happiness and Wisdom

There is a connection between wisdom and happiness. We look at the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius; he says 'you don’t need much to live happily.'

Dublin 4

Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Road, Dublin 4


The Malone Hotel, 60 Eglantine Avenue, Malone Road, Belfast


18 Anglesea St, Cork


St. Columb's Park House, Limavady Road, Derry


Ardilaun Hotel, Taylor's Hill, Galway


St Kieran’s College, College Road, Kilkenny


McAuley Place, Naas

Townley Hall

Townley Hall Main House, Slane Road, Drogheda

Practical Philosophy Online

Ongoing Learning

Part 03, Practical Philosophy:


Everyone has pure love within their nature. This signifies an absence of selfishness or limit. Despite evidence to the contrary, we all try to express pure love in our daily lives.

Learn More

Part 04, Practical Philosophy:


The love, happiness, and intelligence, which are within everyone, are naturally available when the mind is truly present.

Learn More

Part 05, Practical Philosophy:


Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.

Learn More

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