What did Julian Baggini say about science?

Julian Baggini: "Luck is a shy deer"

Julian Baggini doubts that happiness alone gives meaning to life. Since happiness has different qualities and quantities, people must first think about what kind of happiness they want and then decide how much they want from it. Also, it can be important for humans to appreciate things other than happiness. The philosopher Julian Baggini was born in Dover / Kent in 1968. He is the co-founder and editor of "Philosopher's Magazine". He writes regularly for major newspapers and has published several books. One of his books is entitled "The Meaning of Life" and was published in 2005 by Piper Verlag.

Mental illness and depression are increasing

If something seems to be worth it, that doesn't mean that one should strive for it with total dedication. A famous quote from C. P. Snow aptly expresses this fact: “Whoever chases after happiness will never catch it.” So it is advisable not to chase after happiness because that is the only sure way not to get it.

As never before in history, people today have dedicated themselves to the hunt for happiness, but without getting more of it. Although prosperity in the industrialized countries has increased enormously since the 1950s, people are no happier than they were then.

Rather the opposite is the case. Mental illnesses such as depression are on the rise. The striving of modern people for happiness seems to Julian Baggini to be pointless and even to lead to that dissatisfaction that makes it unlikely to capture this desired happiness.

Julian Baggini: "There is no sure recipe for happiness"

For Julian Baggini, however, this does not mean that people should give up the hunt and simply hope that their actions will somehow make them happy. Man must just not concentrate too much on this striving. The secret of success is discovering what leads to happiness and doing it. Then happiness will come by itself. The great Greek thinker Aristotle believed that man is happy when he leads a good life in harmony with his nature as a rational being.

Baggini agrees with Aristotle by claiming that happiness slips out of people's hands when they worry too much about it. It is better to simply live the life one thinks makes sense and consider the resulting happiness as a gift. However, there is no guarantee of success, just as there is no sure recipe for happiness.

Lifelong happiness would be hell on earth

Because happiness can take many forms and a person may never achieve the perfect satisfaction that he dreamed of. People simply have to accept that they are not granted unlimited happiness. George Bernhard Shaw put it this way: “But a lifetime of happiness! No living person would endure that: it would be hell on earth ”.

This quote shows once again that permanent happiness is neither a natural nor a healthy condition for humans. Julian Baggini praises the wisdom of the Greeks, which for him can hardly be surpassed. Many of their philosophers argue that once man has cultivated the right outlook on life, he is not helpless in the vicissitudes of fate.

Unrealistic expectations never lead to happiness

Socrates is said to have said in court that no evil can happen to a good person, either in life or after death. And Epictetus said that it was not the things themselves that gave people sleepless nights, but their appraisals of these things. For Baggini, perhaps the greatest obstacle on the way to happiness lies buried in the modern myth of happiness.

Endowed with unrealistic expectations, no one will ever be happy, even if they have as much as others, or even more than any one could ever wish for. Modern man has forgotten to be grateful for what he owns and prefers to be angry that he cannot get something. Baggini compares man's longing for happiness with a flame that man assumes can only be extinguished if he continues to stir it up. Failure is guaranteed.

From Hans Klumbies