When we pose the question “What is the meaning of happiness?” we are often referring to the esoteric search for happiness. We are looking for something bigger – starting a discussion more profound – like the discussion regarding our collective purpose in life. My question here is more simple. Quite literally, what is the dictionary definition of joy?
Perhaps you’ve heard the (trite) anthropological/linguistic example that Inuits of the coldest regions of Canada have “30 words for ‘snow’ ” in their native tongue. The idea that the more our life experience exposes us to something the more appreciation we have for its subtleties — an appreciate that comes with vocabulary. Conversely, one of the first insults purists will give insult and marginalize is a lack of distinction. Such as ‘rap music all sounds the same’ or ‘they all look identical. This lack of specificity is related to a lack of exposure.
Recognizing subtlety is part of appreciating something, part of respecting something, regardless if you agree with it or not.
Tangentially related to this stream of consciousness, I’m curious at the subtle differences between words like ‘joy’, ‘pleasure’, and ‘happiness’ and curious about how learning more will influence my relationship with the concepts behind the words.
‘Joy’… And other words…
The New Oxford American Dictionary has the following definitions.
|Bliss –||Perfect happiness. A state of spiritual blessedness, typically that reached after death.|
|Cheerfulness –||Noticeably happy and optimistic|
|Contentment –||A state of happiness and satisfaction|
|Delight –||Feeling extremely pleased|
|Ecstasy –||An overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement|
|Ebullience –||The quality of being cheerful and full of energy|
|Elation –||Great happiness and exhilaration|
|Enjoyment –||The state or process of taking pleasure in something|
|Euphoria –||A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness|
|Exhilaration –||A feeling of happiness, animation, or elation|
|Exuberance –||The quality of being full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness;|
|Exultation –||A feeling of triumphant elation or jubilation|
|Felicity –||Intense happiness|
|Gladness –||Emotion of being pleased / delighted|
|Glee –||Great delight|
|Happiness –||The state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment|
|Joy –||A feeling of great pleasure and happiness|
|Jubilation –||A feeling of great happiness and triumph.|
|Pleasure –||A feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment|
|Rapture –||A feeling of intense pleasure or joy|
|Satisfaction –||Fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this|
So What Does All That Mean?
Many of these words seem to be interchangeable. I’ll think for a bit about this and revisit this post soon. Soon I’ll examine a few of the core differences.