After a discussion I had tonight with a friend, over [quite a few] drinks, regarding happiness, I got to thinking, how do you really define a concept as vague as happiness?

The dictionary.com definition is:

  1. the quality or state of being happy
  2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy

It seems to me that of the second definition, both good fortune and pleasure are externally derived, and probably an unstable basis for happiness. Contentment is a passive feeling, of having achieved what you want to or acquired the possessions you desire, etc.

This leaves joy, which I again looked up on dictionary.com, only to find that most of the definitions relate again to external influences. The same with happy.

Is our species really so dependent on others? I like to think that if I was stuck on the dark side of the moon, with only an antique Apollo moon buggy for company [yes, this was a scenario that was discussed tonight] it would still be possible for me to be happy. Maybe not happy in the dictionary sense.

Here’s a question, and I wouldn’t say I know the answer: Is it possible to be happy with other people if you are not happy on your own?