If you woke up one day without any of your memories or your feelings, would you consider your “new” self to be in a happy or despaired state of mind? i.e. what is a person’s default state of mind? It is hard to argue for the existence of a neutral being, for it means that there are no sensations and no negativities.
In truth, it could be argued that by default we are in despair, and build ourselves towards eudaimonia (the ultimate human good/happiness/human flourishing). It could also be seen oppositely; that we are born happy and strive to remain that way in spite of what life presents to us in obstacles. The answer to this question remains a subjective one, but our inability to objectively answer it perhaps undermines our inability to understand the real meanings of happiness and despair. Why should we bother trying to figure out the answer to this question?
Well, understanding our innermost and innate thoughts will put us on course towards reaching eudaimonia, since by convention it is known that it is what all humans are after.
The problem that arises between happiness and despair more often than not is our misconceptions about dealing with both of them. Unless you’re a very positive person, we usually let despair to sink into our soul more than we do for happiness. Losing out to a sought after merit will most likely haunt your memory far longer than winning it will enrich yours.
We tend to forget things or take away any importance that they had in our minds when they are settled. Why do we forget what we had for lunch a couple of days ago? Because it has been settled in our minds. We felt the sensations of eating and then went back to focusing on new things that require attention. On the other hand, when unpleasant acts or thoughts head towards our way, we may attempt to forget and settle them, but often find that they are still hanging around our minds, sometimes as a blurred thought.
Our focus on despair seems to outmatch that of happiness and eudaimonia, even though the latter is what we’re after. The process of eliminating or settling despair while we let happiness wait for our attention shifts our state of mind into one that is in despair. Instead, it should be happiness that takes most of our attention, and quickly settling any present forms of despair.
Although we feel that life, for a lot of time, consists of involuntary acts, the truth is that for the most part our lives are made up of our voluntary actions. Aristotle attempts to draw the line between voluntary and involuntary acts or choices, yet finds it extremely difficult to do. This is because even acts that seem involuntary, for example, forced upon us, still present an element of choice to us albeit at times indirectly. The purpose of this argument is to prove that our happiness and despair are solely dependent on our way of acting in accordance with our virtues or vices.