„The pursuit of happiness never ends.“


Edited by RJ Intindola (Gandolfo). Last update Nov. 18, 2020. History

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„It is the pursuit of happiness that brings us happiness, and not the happiness achieved.“

—  Jack White American musician and record producer 1975

A message he left on his website to his fans, dated September 18th, 2003

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„It's a great game - the pursuit of happiness.“

—  Eugene O'Neill American playwright, and Nobel laureate in Literature 1888 - 1953

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„Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained.“

—  Nathaniel Hawthorne American novelist and short story writer (1804 – 1879) 1804 - 1864

Notebooks, The American Notebooks (1835 - 1853)
Context: Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it.

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„Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government…“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826

1770s, Declaration of Independence (1776)
Context: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Aldous Huxley photo

„Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.“

—  Aldous Huxley English writer 1894 - 1963

Essay "Distractions I" in Vedanta for the Western World (1945) edited by Christopher Isherwood

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„Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire French poet 1880 - 1918

Commonly attributed, but source unknown. note: Uncertain

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„The "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence didn't mean radical individualism. It meant the pursuit of virtue.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa American historian and collegiate professor 1918 - 2015

2000s, Interview with Peter Robinson (2009)

John Stuart Mill photo
Théodore Guérin photo

„Happy, ah, thrice happy they who can then look out to the never-ending future with calm and confidence,“

—  Théodore Guérin Catholic saint and nun from France 1798 - 1856

First Journal of Travel (1840)
Context: Nothing troubled the charm and silence of this solitude. Making the most serious reflections on what we behold, and on our present position, I said to myself: Thus does life also pass away, now calm, now agitated, but at last the end is attained. Happy, ah, thrice happy they who can then look out to the never-ending future with calm and confidence, who can cast themselves on the bosom of God, the Center of our felicity.

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„The great object of government is to restrict, control and punish man ‘in the pursuit of happiness.“

—  George Fitzhugh American activist 1806 - 1881

Source: Sociology For The South: Or The Failure Of A Free Society (1854), p. 180

„For Socrates, virtue was nothing but its own pursuit. And only the promise of happiness is happiness itself.“

—  Alexander Nehamas Professor of philosophy 1946

Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art (2010), p. 138.

Herbert Spencer photo

„The pursuit of individual happiness within those limits prescribed by social conditions, is the first requisite to the attainment of the greatest general happiness.“

—  Herbert Spencer English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist 1820 - 1903

Ethics (New York:1915), § 70, pp. 190-191
The Principles of Ethics (1897), Part I: The Data of Ethics

Malcolm Muggeridge photo

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