Simon Critchley on the Pursuit of Happiness

British philosopher publishes short essay in the New York Times
Photograph: Gordon M. Grant for The New York Times
Once again, However Fallible has picked up on a great article in the New York Times. This time, it's British philosopher Simon Critchley pondering the philosophical route to happiness:
'What is happiness? How does one get a grip on this most elusive, intractable and perhaps unanswerable of questions?

'I teach philosophy for a living, so let me begin with a philosophical answer. For the philosophers of Antiquity, notably Aristotle, it was assumed that the goal of the philosophical life — the good life, moreover — was happiness and that the latter could be defined as the bios theoretikos, the solitary life of contemplation. Today, few people would seem to subscribe to this view. Our lives are filled with the endless distractions of cell phones, car alarms, commuter woes and the traffic in Bangalore. The rhythm of modern life is punctuated by beeps, bleeps and a generalized attention deficit disorder.

'But is the idea of happiness as an experience of contemplation really so ridiculous? Might there not be something in it? [...]'