I went through some of the comments on last week's philosophical discussion about happiness. Here are three things that struck me.
1. There was a question about the relationship between happiness and love. Interestingly enough, Saint Thomas Aquinas posits happiness as the main goal of humanity, while he says right actions (with a heavy emphasis on love) as the way to attain happiness.
To put this another way, the answer to the question, "What comes first, love or happiness?" seems to be love, because happiness is a direct result of love. That's a logical enough conclusion. Surely, it can't be the other way around (love being a direct result of happiness).
2. I just want to highlight the fact that the happiness which is completely union with God involves the use of the intellect. Religion is not just a matter of feelings; it is also a matter of thinking.
3. Question: Is happiness an emotion or is it a chemical reaction?
I find it interesting that our society does not debate this question, but it does debate whether or not unhappiness is an emotion or chemical reaction. Specifically, there are huge arguments over whether or not depression should be treated as a medical disease. Usually, people who see depression as an emotional state don't think it should be treated as a disease, while people who see depression as a mere chemical reaction tend to think that it is easily "cured" with drugs or other chemicals.
I'm not sure which end of the spectrum I fall under, in this debate. I can understand arguments for depression being a disease, or at least, a mental condition. However, I find myself wary of people who argue that people should take happiness-inducing drugs.
That's a completely different conversation, with little relevance to the original discussion, though. Obviously, the happiness that is union with God in Heaven is not controlled or influenced by chemicals.