Happiness, Society and Moral Perfection Study Sections

    In my last post on happiness, I claimed that perfect happiness was not compatible with past wrongdoing unless there was supernatural help available to correct the problems that wrongdoing creates. Assuming that moral perfection could be obtained, would this automatically give the recipient perfect happiness? I think not. Perfect happiness would require a perfect world as well.

    Suppose that someone was morally perfect. Suppose further that this person had never done anything wrong. It would not follow that this person would be perfectly happy. While such a person would have no internal barriers to happiness and no external barriers that they were responsible for, there could still be external barriers to their happiness. Circumstances could conspire against their plans. Evil could occur and rob them of their well-being or even their life. Other people could damage them with their evil. Any of these things would be enough to prevent perfect happiness.

    So it seems that perfect happiness requires that all evil be prevented from actually damaging those who are perfectly happy. It would also require that the world be in harmony with itself and with all rational beings that can change something within it. It would even require that society be in harmony with itself. This harmony could not be a mere lack of violent conflict. It would have to be a unity of purpose.

    The unity of purpose is one in which everyone’s ultimate good is understood for what it really is and it is possible to pursue all of them without creating conflict. Such a harmony comes from within because each person’s desire is fulfilled and the fulfillment automatically brings peace. Such a peace would remove any danger of society or any individual within it acting against the happiness of any other person.

    Such a peace would not be sufficient unless it extended to the natural world as well. The natural world can only be considered to be at peace if it is impossible for the natural world to conflict with the desires of any rational being within that world. Such a state requires the complete elimination of natural evil as well as all of the consequences of any kind of evil from the natural world. It would also mean that the will of any human being would be both in harmony with nature and yet it would also be such that nature would obey the acts of any human will.

    These conditions on perfect happiness are so extreme that no human action can bring them about. We might call such a society utopia simply because it does not exist and no act of humanity could ever bring it about. So while such a state might be an ideal one, it is one that would require supernatural help. In our present state on this earth, perfect happiness is impossible. While we should promote right action and help individuals to obtain their good desires, we should never be under the illusion that this will bring us any closer to a perfect society. Happiness is still important, but there is no human way to obtain perfect happiness.

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