Happiness and Impossible Standards in Aristotle's The Nicomachean Ethics

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Humans, throughout recorded history, have searched for a proper way of living which would lead them to ultimate happiness; the Nicomachean Ethics, a compilation of lecture notes on the subject written by Greek philosopher Aristotle, is one of the most celebrated philosophical works dedicated to this study of the way. As he describes it, happiness can only be achieved by acting in conformity with virtues, virtues being established by a particular culture’s ideal person operating at their top capacity. In our current society the duplicity of standards in relation to virtue makes it difficult for anyone to attain. To discover true happiness, man must first discover himself.
Physiologically, happiness is activity of the mind, predominantly in the left prefrontal cortex, anterior cortex, and the amygdale. Recent studies made possible by scanning systems such as MRIs and Positron Emission Tomography show that when an individual experiences feelings of happiness, the activity in these areas of the brain increase proportionally. This empirical evidence concurs with Aristotle’s definition, with one significant difference. These feelings corresponding to elation are activity, but not in conformity with a singular virtue, as Aristotle so adamantly claims throughout the book.
If happiness does not relate to a single set of rigid virtues, and can be reproduced by multifarious stimuli, the virtues themselves must be reconsidered. Happiness is only attained by conforming to those virtues…