Joy Is Not Just Happiness

1170 Words5 Pages
In our everyday lives, joy has become synonymous with both happiness and pleasure. We have diminished the meaning of the word by using it in place of the more appropriate terms in order to provide emphasis. C.S. Lewis takes more literal definition of joy, and so assigns it more significance in his mind, separating it from any other emotion. Though he acknowledges that oftentimes happiness and pleasure occur simultaneously with joy, they are not the root cause, nor are they the same emotion. I think the best distinction Lewis makes between happiness and pleasure is when he states “Joy… must have the stab, the pang, the inconsolable longing” (Lewis 72). This look into the root of joy demonstrates that joy is not just happiness, it is more complex and not always a fully positive emotion. There can be sadness and longing behind the joy, but it does not diminish the great properties of joy. Because joy is so great it is often sought, but as Lewis says “it is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be’” (Lewis 78). The fleeting nature of joy only adds to the intrigue, as it often comes at the most unexpected times. Lewis recognizes this, as he titled the book “Surprised by Joy.” Lewis also thinks that one’s definition of joy is constantly changing with our experiences. As he learned more about some subject, one that used to bring him joy to study, he “realizes that this was something quite different from the original Joy.”
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