Eudaimonia Lost in Translation Greek Word of The Day

Painting;Maxfield Parrish Contentment
Painting; Maxfield Parrish
“Happiness depends on ourselves”

What did Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, mean by this?

"The School of Athens" Raffaello, 1590 Aristotle, left, Plato, right
"The School of Athens" Raffaello, 1590
Aristotle, left, Plato, right

Aristotle’s philosophy on happiness was that it comes from within us, from being honest, having pride, knowing the difference between right and wrong, being virtuous.

Arete, Greek, spirit of virtue, goodness, excellence and valor
Arete, Greek, spirit of virtue, goodness, excellence and valour.

 All of the above traits, according to Aristotle, are what we need to live a good life, to have a feeling of well-being, to flourish, to feel content and protected, to be grateful for what we have.

Way back in the fourth century B.C, in his book The Nicomachean Ethics (Penguin Classics) Aristotle sums up this feeling of well-being, this feeling of happiness, in one word:


"EU" means good or well, and "Daimonia" means a spirit, dwelling within us, a guardian spirit or angel.

To live the good and moral life, to reach this state of eudaimonia, the ultimate goal, it is imperative to recognise the difference between good and evil, to commit only good actions, to be rational, courageous and just.

St. Michael, he decides on who gets to heaven.
 Notice he is holding a pair of scales, to weigh the good deeds against
 the bad ones.
To help us along with these requirements for happiness, (after all, we are only human),
 the daimonia, benign spirits, guardian angels, call them what you will, are there, living within us, guiding us down the right path to the well - lived life.

Guardian Spirit
Guardian Spirit

So happiness is not a large house, a big shiny car or a diamond solitaire, the size of a duck egg, happiness comes from within us, not from possessions, that yes, may give us happiness, but for how long? Until the newer model of that shiny car comes on the market?

Eudaimonia, that feeling of well-being, of pure contentment, of security, of happiness, stays with us; it makes us realize that we really don’t need a huge diamond solitaire after all!

Eudaimonia: A state of well-being, pure contentment with the simple things in life.
Eudaimonia: A state of well-being;
 Pure contentment
with the simple things in life.

To achieve eudaimonia, and to also make your guardian spirit’s job a little easier,
live by “The Golden Rule” (or Ethic of reciprocity, that states: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.)

You won’t go far wrong!

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