Aristotle – The father of abstract happiness.
The question of happiness goes back to Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), and no doubt far before him, because he wrote so thoroughly about it that there had to be a long oral tradition which preceded him, and upon which he built his theory. He considers many approaches to Happiness in Nichomachean Ethics, but in the end he taught that the middle path between an excess of an activity, and an excess of a non-performance of the activity, was the best path for the individual. In fact he could not possibly have practiced what he taught because he wrote so very much, and thought so very deeply that he was obviously driven to that extreme of productivity by some other motivation. However, it is that motivation, which by my philosophy he was practicing, which is the highest form of happiness, and he was doing so at the very highest level.
Aristotle himself was practicing what is called Theoria, which is defined as the creation of wisdom enhancing methods with the benefits available to everyone and everything. His path of the Golden Mean was a fine and beneficial path to happiness for almost everyone, but it wasn’t for him because he wasn’t only a member of society, he was a creator of societies, and it might be well argued the creator of Western Civilization.
Imhotep about 2630 BC
There are a few others which might be called the creators of civilizations; Imhotep comes to mind. He could be called the creator of the classic Egyptian civilization which persisted for some two and a half THOUSAND years. He not only created much of the style of their physical world, but also created much of the society, and intellectual traditions. No doubt much of what he created is still with us today, but it is like the air we breath, we can not live without it, but we are rarely aware of its importance.
Those two people were functioning at the highest level on the Probaway – Scale of Human Happiness.
The scale is based on the total amount of time that the benefits are being experienced by human beings. It defines happiness as a belief that a hoped-for state of affairs is coming into existence. Survival in the moment is always necessary, and without that there is nothing for the individual, but the thoughts of the moment evaporate with the moment and are forgotten. However, at the other end of the scale, (progressing from Survivalism toward Theoria) there are longer, and longer periods of time that the hoped-for state of affairs continues to exist. In the case of Aristotle, and Imhotep the hoped-for state lasted for thousands of years and to some degree is still on going. The time, and effort they spent creating their happy worlds has had an enormous multiplier effect, and vast numbers of people have felt and others are still enjoying their personal hoped-for states because of these two peoples’ profound thoughts, and efforts. Truly, they helped us to live life, and live it more abundantly.