HAPPINESS AND PURPOSE OF HUMAN LIFE
Being sad is part of human experience. Tears are nothing to be
ashamed of; it is healthy for man to cry once in a while. But why does man
become sad or gloomy? We are sad when we do not have something that we
want. Some of us are unhappy because we desire many things that we
cannot get or we want things that we do not really need in the end.
Conversely, we become happy when we do have something that we
want. Once man discovers that he has what he wants, he indulges in the
pleasure that it gives. But after some, the satisfaction wears off. And man
searches again. He tries other goods but neither do they endure. No man
has been perfectly happy in this life. There is no lasting pleasure in this
world. Perfect happiness can only come from the possession of a good that
is perfect in every way. Such a good has to be desirable in and for itself. It
cannot be just a means or an instrument; it must be permanently and fully
satisfying. All good on this earth, then, have their limitations.
- Happiness is the desire satisfied by the conscious possession of the
- Happiness is not the same as joy or gladness. It is a lasting condition,
not a passing feeling or emotions
- Happiness is the basic motive in everything we do.
• People who are happy have learned what it means to love or to choose
the good. Such men have identified the good and make it a part of
• Knowledge and desire of the good (knowing and loving) constitutes
man’s ways of attaining his purpose in life
- Happiness is not doing what one wants to do but in wanting what one
has to do
3 types of Good that are bound up with HUMAN ACTION
When man acts, he chooses a certain good which becomes the goal of
1. bonus delectabile (pleasurable good) – that goal is pleasing the sense
2. bonus utile (useful good) – the goal is the advantage or usefulness to
3. bonus honestum (just good) – the goal is the goodness of the act
itself, as grasped by the intellect
2 kinds of goods
1. Natural Good
- it is the good that is possessed by man according to man’s motive; fulfill
man’s temporal needs e.g. health
2. Supernatural Good
- it is the good which goes beyond man’s powers or faculties; good that
gives eternal satisfaction e.g. God
- is said to be the final end of man, that which brings happiness and
purpose to his life
- that purpose is considered as: TO KNOW, LOVE AND SERVE GOD
Some VIEWS on HAPPINESS and the GOOD
• Everything that is done out of envy for the good is another has no
value in the long run. Such behavior only leads to greater
• Man may also become unhappy by transforming a temporal good into
a final end. All goods on this earth have their limitations; they can
never fully satisfy the longings of the human spirit.
• Upon attaining the natural goods, man realizes that he must have
something other that himself. Otherwise, he would feel empty and
unfulfilled inside. Thus, man should reach out for a good outside
himself and allowed it to transform his being from good to better,
becoming selfless and not self-entered. He shall be a virtuous man.
• Only in the living of virtues can man truly say, “Life is worth living.”
LAWS and NATURAL LAW
Laws of the Universe
Just as there can never be science without a scientist, so neither can
there be a low and order in the cosmos unless it was made with law and
order. The mind of man does not put law into the universe; it discovers it. If
man discovers it intelligibility there, someone must have put it there in
making the cosmos intelligently. That someone is the Author of the laws
which govern the universe.
The Author of such laws has designed all the laws of the universe in
His own infinite mind. In this sense, the EXTERNAL LAW is that plan of
divine wisdom, directing all actions and movements. It is called ETERNAL
because it is prior to creation and LAW because it is a normative ordination
by the divine wisdom. All laws- defined as an ordinance of reason,
promulgated for the common good – are derived from eternal law.
The eternal law then is the model of all laws. No law is just if it does
not conform to eternal law. Eternal law applies to each and every action of
The eternal law reveals the will of God – considered to be the supreme
Author of laws. It contains the divine blueprints which bring order into the
universe because they direct all of creation and creatures to their respective
end-goals. The eternal law is independent of man; i.e. it is unaffected by
man’s thoughts for it exists and is true, even if man does not study or agree
with it. The external law is based on or learned from the state of things in
nature and human nature.
For example, man discovers the divine/eternal law in:
- the PHYSICAL LAWS which rule non-rational and rational creatures, eg.
The law of gravity, of relativity, rule of aging
- the BIOLOGICAL LAWS which govern the development and functions of
living things, eg. Internal digestive, reproductive systems; predictable
patterns of growth
- the MATHEMATIAL LAWS which govern abstract quantity
Aside from the above laws, man acknowledges certain laws which are
inherent in his nature (NATURAL LAW) and which specifically govern his
behavior (MORAL LAW). Natural law is the participation of eternal law in the
rational creature. It provides the possibilities and potentialities which the
human person can use to make human life truly human. It is called LAW
because it is a binding norm that is obeyed after being known. It is called
NATURAL because it prescribes the specific way of acting that corresponds to
The NATURAL-MORAL LAW contains universal truths and ethical
principles which ought to guide the individual conduct of man in matters of
right and wrong. It prescribes NORMS OF CONDUCT – for the good and
happiness of man – which specify what man ought or ought not to do in
order to lead him to the HIGHEST GOOD and ABSOLUTE END.
Properties of Natural Law
The properties of natural law are UNIVERSALITY and IMMUTABILITY.
Both are consequence of what natural law is. Because natural law flows from
human nature, it applies to all who share that nature (universality) for as
long as their nature continues to be human (immutability).
The UNIVERSALITY of natural law implies that the rights and duties
that it establishes to all humans by the mere fact of being human. Its
obligation is independent of culture, beliefs, environment or circumstances.
It stems from human nature which all people possess equally because they
The IMMUTABILITY of natural law flows from the immutability of
human nature which remains substantially the same at all times.
The passage of time has led to new forms of human organization,
changes in human relations and in general different cultural orientations.
However, these changes never touch what is essential – natural law does not
admit dispensations from its first principles.
Other Characteristics of Natural Law
1. It is obligatory. It is human nature calling itself to be actualized, to be
lived accordingly to its basic and essential demands
2. It is recognizable. It is imprinted in the human nature and man has
the light of reason to know it. It enables man to recognized self-
evident principles such as “do good and avoid evil, honor thy father
and thy mother and others.”
The Human Law
It is from the precepts of the natural law, as from general principles,
that the human reason needs to proceed to the more particular
determinations of certain matters. These particular determinations, devised
by human reason, are called HUMAN LAWS, provided the other essential
conditions of law are observed. A basic condition would be for the common
good of man and society.
Human acts are actions which man performs knowingly, freely and
voluntarily. These actions are result of conscious knowledge and are subject
to the control of the will.
- Man is blessed with dignity of being a man
- Man can think and decide what to do with his life.
ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTES OF HUMAN ACTS
- it must be performed by a conscious agent who is aware of what he is
doing and of its consequences
- it must be performed by an agent who is acting freely, that is by his own
volition (under the control of his will) and powers.
3. Voluntary or Willed
- it must be performed by an agent who decides willfully to perform the
- man has to consent to the act so that I can occur
- man takes the necessary steps for the act to happen