Gordon Rattray Taylor Happiness

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Gordon Rattray Taylor (1911 - 1981) ‘Conditions of Happiness’ (Taylor) by Gordon Rattray Taylor, by far, offers a detailed analytic, diagnostic and synthetic framework approach to happiness of the contemporary society. His quest begins from the realization that ‘modern civilization makes many people deeply unhappy, corrupting the personalities of some and driving a shocking number to escape from their problems in mental breakdown or self destruction’ which he calls as ‘crisis of happiness’. His insistence on having a wider perspective of things both in seeking to understand the experience of happiness per se, and the factors that cause its experience. He argues that most of the writers on happiness of that time seek to emphasize either on…show more content…
He is known for his contributions to the field of mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. He emerges as one of the foremost humanist thinkers of 20th century as he himself mentions, ‘Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.’ With leanings towards socialism, his views on World War I as a kind of mass insanity was known to have attracted the ire of many powerful people. A recipient of Nobel Prize for literature, his works range from profound treatises to number of popular essays. Russell treats happiness as a central theme in one of his works titled, ‘The conquest of happiness’ (Russell, 1930). The book is neatly arranged with two halves, the first outlining the causes of unhappiness and the second, causes of happiness. Incidentally, the first chapter, ‘What makes people unhappy?’ serves as introduction and the last chapter, ‘The happy man’, as conclusion of the book. The structure clearly suggests that one has to first deal with causes of unhappiness efficiently in order to explore…show more content…
You cannot therefore get away from envy by means of success alone..’ (Russell, 1930, p. 89) 6. The sense of sin Here, Russell alludes to the sense of guilt inherent in the Christian tradition in reference to the original sin which the Semitic religions have exploited always. 7. Persecution mania Russell feels that it is impossible to be happy if one feels that one is ill-treated by everybody else. Identifying the cause of this attitude he says, ‘Persecution mania is always rooted in a too exaggerated conception of our own merits.’ (Russell, 1930, p. 114) He ends this section by giving four maxims that help in overcoming this attitude. They are: a. Remember that your motives are not always altruistic as they seem to yourself’ b. Don’t overestimate your own merits. c. Don’t expect others to take as much interest in you as you do in yourself. d. Don’t imagine that most people give enough thought to you to have any desire to persecute you. 8. Fear of public
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