Pursuit of Happiness
William James claimed that the “human mind is a theater of simultaneous possibilities” (Bok p.23) and I feel that different forms of art are an important key part to enhance the depth and scope someone can feel to the world. Personally, I remember going to the Milwaukee Art Museum when I went to Wisconsin for spring break and it was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. Some of my favorite pieces from visiting MAM were “Carnaval des Fleurs” by Riguad Benoit and “View from the Artist’s Studio by Pierre Bonnard. I love the use of color and they made me appreciate the beauty of the new blooming flowers of springtime.
I have also looked into art therapy and its benefits because I suffer from depression, and I found that taking time to paint and draw helped me feel relaxed and peaceful. I took art all four years of high school and it was my absolute favorite class because I didn’t have papers and assignments due every night and I could work at my own pace. I remember feeling satisfaction when I finished a piece or did a really difficult or new art medium that I wasn’t used to. I think that different forms of art are a necessary part to becoming a happier person because creating something gives you a new found sense of joy. I also found that being able to share my artistic creations with others and seeing the happiness that my art gave them made me feel happy all over again. Being able to appreciate writing and poetry also brings me happiness.
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My mom bought me a set of poetry books for Christmas last year and I am currently re-reading them all again. I also like writing poetry and it helps me to sort of map out my emotions when everything in my head seems like a chaotic mess. Music also gives me a happy feeling. Several of the presentations that have been given on music definitely resonated with me because when I listen to happy songs, I feel happier and more motivated. I also like playing my ukulele because it helps me relax when I’m stressed. Growing up as a kid, my grandmother had a piano in her living room. I never learned it play it, but as a kid, I liked strumming all the keys and humming little songs. My grandmother also used to sing me twinkle twinkle little star to help me sleep.
I feel that being able to understand and appreciate different forms of art also enhance someone’s freedom and individualism. If someone grows up not knowing how to appreciate art, whether written, painted or musical, they can’t appreciate all that life has to offer them. And being able to appreciate them in your own way, makes you the individual you are. I appreciate and see different things in a painting than my best friend would. We are both artistic and smart so we can appreciate the artwork in front of us, but we have different life experiences and central life interests so we see the same piece of artwork differently.
So, when you combine the importance of the arts and the effects that they have on freedom and individualism, I feel that they directly affect a person’s “pursuit of happiness” because being able to freely express yourself will allow you a sense of happiness. I know that when I finish a piece of artwork or a poem, I feel accomplished and proud of myself and that makes me feel happy.
I think luck plays some part in all of this because if you seek out happiness, you may not find it. But the chance or luck of being able to find happiness is the greatest reward of all, “They have no assurance of success, no assurance that happiness is owed to them” (Bok p.2). That quote from “Exploring Happiness” really resonates with me personally because when you suffer from depression, every day is a battle of its own and finding happiness in a bad day, even if it is as simple as watching the sunset, makes all the bad things fade away. In the beginning of “Exploring Happiness”, Bok discusses how she may have not come to existence if her mother hadn’t believed that only child families had less happiness that families with more than one child.