Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/843

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
825
THE MORALITY OF HAPPINESS.

ral consummation of the beneficent work which was initiated by Franklin one hundred and thirty years ago. Without this instrument the lightning-conductor is a hopeful and very generally helpful expedient. But, with the galvanometer, it is now assuredly competent to take rank as a never-failing protection.—Edinburgh Review.

 

THE MORALITY OF HAPPINESS.
By THOMAS FOSTER.

Closing Remarks.

IT remains only now that I should consider the general conclusions toward which our discussion of the subject of happiness as a guide to conduct may appear to have led us.

Let me note, yet once more, that those have entirely misapprehended the whole drift of this series of papers who imagine, as many still seem to do, that my subject has been the morality of being happy, the propriety of seeking after happiness. The mistake appears so absurd, when the nature of the reasoning I have advanced is considered, that it would seem hardly worth while to correct it, seeing that no one who could fall into such a mistake could (one would imagine) in the least profit by any explanation or correction. Yet the mistake has been made by several who are clearly not devoid of capacity alike to render and to receive a reason. I have, therefore, felt bound to correct it as far as possible, and, as several letters recently received show that the error is still entertained, I have now to correct it afresh. Let me explain, then, that the object of these papers has been to show what sort of moral law is likely to arise, and what law appears actually to have arisen and to be in progress of formation, when the guide of conduct is the increase of happiness—individual happiness, and the happiness of those around us, with due regard to the proper apportionment of altruistic and egoistic happiness. I have not examined such questions as. What is happiness? What kind of happiness is worthiest? and so forth. I have taken, as included in the term "happiness," all the various forms of pleasurable emotion of which the human race is susceptible, while all the various forms of painful emotion to which we are exposed have come naturally into consideration as all involving greater or less diminution of happiness. With the development of the human race, or of any part of the human race, in one direction or in another (for development is multiform), we find that ideas about pleasure and pain become modified in various ways. And it has been a special part of our subject to consider how the lower forms of pleasure, those related first to the physical gratification of self, and next those related specially to self but otherwise of higher type, give place