John Cicardi wrote the essay called What is Happiness?  to give his thoughts on how people around the world attempt to find joy and what a true, balanced happiness is. He attempts to show readers that the best and happiest lifestyle comes from a combination of the Western attitude that possessions and looks will bring us greater joy and the Eastern attitude that perfect, calm meditation is the key to heaven. Through this combination, he works to explain that becoming happy requires effort. It is not a free bonus along with your possessions or a constant struggle with the mind, but the common ground in between them which John likens to a game.

 Cicardi’s ideas, although reasonable and intelligent, seem to be lacking. He explains extremely well how religion and thought (higher level) and physical things (lower level) work together to create our overall happiness, but never mentions that doing things and being with people often play a factor. For example, many people find a purpose and joy in their live through serving others and their community, but this was never included in Cicardi’s argument. Even the simple act of spending time with your friends and family never received note.

Besides his narrow view of what people do to be happy, I completely agree with what John Cicardi says. Those who strive only for the intellectual side of things do not experience life to its fullest and men who chase solely after possessions tend to lack peace in their lives. I, personally, am always trying to find a better balance between the two, and can definitely put Cicardi’s thoughts to work. After reading his essay, it is just much simpler to think about and find where my middle ground lies.


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