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What Can Psychologists Learn from Ancient Philosophy?


Start by imagining a man named Tom:

Tom always enjoys his job as a janitor at a local community college. What he likes most about his job is how it gives him a chance to meet the young female students who are attending the community college.  Almost every single day Tom feels good and generally experiences a lot of pleasant emotions. In fact, it is very rare that he would ever feel negative emotions like sadness or loneliness. When Tom thinks about his life, he always comes to the same conclusion: he feels highly satisfied with the way he lives.

The reason Tom feels this way is that every day he goes from locker to locker and steals belongings from the students and re-sells these belongings to buy himself alcohol. Each night as he’s going to sleep, he thinks about the things he will steal the next day.

Now ask yourself about what Tom feels like: Does Tom feel bad? Does he feel satisfied with what he’s doing? Does he feel good?

Okay, regardless of what you thought about those questions. Now just ask yourself this: Is Tom happy?