How to Like It: Depictions of Happiness in the Modern World
“The purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear,” so says the Dalai Lama. But what makes him so sure? And what is happiness? Like pornography, do we just know it when we see it? What are the myriad definitions of happiness that flood a modern consumer, and how can we separate truths from fictions? How can a force so universally desired still be so elusive in the modern world? This course will investigate all these questions via various depictions of happiness in philosophy, literature and film. How do competing definitions of happiness compliment or contradict one another? Most importantly, which definition is right for you? Students will examine the role of happiness in their own lives as well, and hopefully come away from the course with a better understanding of themselves. Media depicting happiness will include Buddhist philosophy, fractured modern novels, news media, commercial advertising, and sexually provocative cinema.