What makes you happy?
What does the word ‘happiness’ mean anyway?
I’m working on an ongoing research project about the nature of happiness and what it means to us today. Yep, you’re right, that’s quite a big subject, but I’m really looking forward to tackling it.
The culmination of the project is a book proposal to be sent as a title prospect to publishers of non-fiction books.
It’s not a self-help book. It’s not a philosophy book. It’s more an exploration of the subject of happiness that you can perhaps pick up when you want to. The ideal book for keeping by the loo. There are two parts to the book.
Part One is a romp through the history of thought, looking at what the great and the good (and the not so good) have had to say on the subject of happiness. From the ancient Greeks, through medieval philosophers, the great minds of the Englightenment, right through to 20th-century thinkers, writers, athropologists, politicans, religious leaders, etc.
Part Two is a compilation of modern responses to the subject, which I have solicited from a variety of voices today. I intend to interview leading figures in modern society, along with spiritual leaders, remarkable people, homeless people, prisoners, musicians, artists, philosophers – anyone with anything interesting to say about happiness and what it means to them.
The point of the book isn’t to try and come to a conclusion about what happiness really is. Thinkers and writers down the years have tried to do that repeatedly and very few of them agree. On the question ‘what is happiness?’ the jury is pretty much out.
What I intend to provide is a wide-reaching investigation into what happiness might mean to lots of different kinds of people – in the past and today. I then lay the challenge down to the reader to come up with what they think happiness means to them.
This isn’t the kind of book you might sit down and read in one go. You’ll probably dip in and out of it as you go. Perhaps just flick through it as and when you like.
As my body of research grows, I intend to build up a representative sample of the book content in progress on this website. Here are some examples of the kind of content you’ll be able to find in the book:
The historical section of the book, featuring profiles of the great and the good of the past.
The contemporary section of the book, featuring interviews with people today.
I’m also blogging about what I find out about happiness here.