Critique on Happiness and Analysis
In Karl Giberson’s article “The Ends of Happiness” (2006), from the Science & Spirit magazine, he raises the topic of happiness, where he claims that people are now pursuing the means to happiness as an end to itself and have missed the point of life. Although Giberson(2006) has made some valid arguments in claiming that people pursue wealth as a means to happiness, his arguments are largely undermined due to a lack of reliable evidences.
Giberson’s (2006) claims are not unfounded, as human beings tend to set their goals on material success. For them, monetary success is their definition of happiness. This idea is illustrated by the statement “The means have become an end for many of us…”(para. 11). He goes on to say that many others “can’t seek happiness directly” (para. 7). His thoughts align well with society’s widely accepted view that “without family and friends it is hard to find happiness, for these are essential partners in living and doing well”(para. 9). As such, Giberson (2006) implies that happiness comes from the various experiences and journeys which we go through in life, such as quality time spent with people around us.
However, Giberson (2006) makes an unsuccessful attempt in persuading his readers to adopt his beliefs by merely referencing to Aristotle’s philosophy of “living well and doing well” (para. 8). Throughout the article, Giberson (2006) constantly refers to his own opinions and experiences. For example, he reminisces that “in reflecting on the accumulated memories of happy times … [he finds himself] agreeing with Aristotle” (para. 12). Thereafter, he mentions that he “coached [his] children’s sports teams … and lov(ed) it” (para. 13).
This demonstrates that his views are greatly influenced by emotions rather than facts. Although the use of anecdotes sparks interest and engages his readers effectively, his excessive usage of this communication technique makes his arguments seem unsupported and weak. As a result of his heavy reliance on his own opinions, it has led to a hasty generalisation in his argument as seen through his claim that “America … is not a nation pursuing happiness” (para. 11). Due to a lack of expert opinion and statistical data, his claim remains unpersuasive and has little credibility. Hence, Giberson’s(2006) article lacks concrete support and fails to make a compelling argument.
Although Giberson (2006) provides a good point of view on how people are becoming too focused on wealth in the pursuit of happiness, he makes sweeping statements that lacks credibility. He can provide a more concrete argument by using a wider range of reliable sources. This will greatly strengthen Giberson’s (2006) argument and lend credibility to his claim. It would help greatly if he had supporting opinions of other academic writers who follow his train of thought. In essence, his article did indeed establish his thesis that people are pursuing the means to happiness as an end to itself, but had unfortunately failed to compellingly persuade his audience.
Giberson, K. (2006, /). The Ends of Happiness. Retrieved on 21 Jan 2013 from http://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=4e0e6d4c-0091-45b9-be30-fd892a301bf9%40sessionmgr10&vid=3&hid=2