Johnson's Rasselass and the Search for Happiness: Reflections on the Optimism of the Enlightenment

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10/2/2015 10:38 AM

Johnson's Rasselass and the Search for Happiness: Reflections on the Optimism of the Enlightenment


 
Instructor Assistant Mayada Zuhair Al-Khafaji / University of Baghdad- College of Physical Education


Abstract


Optimism is the tendency to see the bright side of things. It is also the belief in the natural goodness and reasonableness of man and his right in the pursuit of happiness. This theory has dominated Europe in the late half of the eighteenth century or in the Age of Reason or the Age of Enlightenment as so likely called. The thinkers of this age believe that perfect happiness is not a mere heavenly reward expected life after but an earthly abstract fact follows the natural laws. New formulated theories of happiness start to invoke freedom, democracy, socialism and secularity. They all ask for heavenly happiness on earth which turned to be a hill after a meanwhile. Conventional thinkers like Samuel Johnson suspect this happiness since it apparently looks at the bright side and neglects the dark bitterness of reality. He tries in his satirical sense to refute this optimistic view wondering about the real meaning of perfect happiness through Rasselass.



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