I had a chance to take a philosophy class when I was a middle school student. Although the teacher was a remarkably outstanding person, I always dozed off during the lecture. One day, all of sudden, the lecturer asked, “Why do you study here?” I almost fell off my chair, regarding the comment a sort of a warning; “If you want to keep sleeping, you’d better get out of this room.” Holding my beating heart, I answered, “To go to a good high school.” Again, the lecturer asked, “Why do you want to go to a high school, then?” Without knowing his intention, I answered readily, “To enter a good university.” Then, he asked why I eagerly wanted to enter a good university. In this way, his seemingly endless and worthless questions continued. To make a long story short, I go to a good university to get a nice job, to earn an ample amount of money, to live leisurely, and to be ‘happy.’ So to say, the ultimate purpose of my life was happiness. Even though the teacher failed to teach Aristotle’s teleological view of nature, he touched my heart deeply, and I started to think about my happiness. Why was I so convinced that happiness existed only in the far future, not in the present? In addition, it is meaningless or contradictory to spend an unhappy life striving to be happy.
Now, when I reflect back on my twenty odd years, I realize that happiness knocked on my door occasionally by surprise and increased its visits as I did work I love with all my heart. Thus, rather than simply regarding happiness as the final aim of my life, it is more desirable to consider it a hidden present that is found now. At 2008 Stanford Commencement Address, Oprah Winfrey said, “When you’re doing the work you were meant to do, it feels right, and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you're getting paid.” Likewise, rather than being frustrated about daily life, which is full of things that need to be done, recognizing that happiness is right in front of you will make your life will surely more enjoyable.
Koo Kim Gyohyun / Editor-in-Chief