Now available from Ignatius Press:
Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts
by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ
One of the hottest topics in contemporary culture is happiness—so much so that the United Nations declared an International Happiness Day in response to the immense popularity of Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy”. The explanation for this current fixation seems to lie in the contrary phenomenon—unhappiness. Despite the fact that we have tremendous access to every imaginable form of entertainment, we experience a pervading sense of insecurity, emptiness, and malaise amid sporadic peak experiences.
The problem seems to lie less in the external environment than in the internal one. We seem, in the words of Viktor Frankl, to be suffering from an absence of meaning that pervades both individuals and societies, giving rise to a collective emptiness, loneliness, and alienation.
Finding True Happiness attempts to provide a way out of this personal and cultural vacuum by helping people to identify and then reach for happiness. As Aristotle noted 2,400 years ago, happiness is the one thing we can choose for its own sake—everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness.
After an exhaustive investigation of philosophical, psychological, and theological systems of happiness, author Fr. Spitzer developed the “Four Levels of Happiness”, which he based on the classical thinkers Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas; the contemporary philosophers Marcel, Scheler, Buber, Ricoeur, and Jaspers; and the modern psychologists Maslow, Frankl, Erikson, Seligman, Kohlberg and Gilligan.
Finding True Happiness is both a philosophical itinerary and a practical guidebook for life’s most important journey—from the mundane and the meaningless to transcendent fulfillment. No other book currently available combines such breadth of practical advice and such depth of philosophical, psychological, and spiritual wisdom.
Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. is the former president of Gonzaga University and the founder of the Magis Institute, which educates the public about the relationship between physics, philosophy, reason, and faith. He is the chief education officer of the Ethics and Performance Institute, which delivers web-based ethics education to corporations and individuals, and President of the Spitzer Center of Ethical Leadership, which delivers similar curricula to non-profit organizations. He is the author of Healing the Culture, Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life, and Ten Universal Principles.
Praise for Finding True Happiness:
"Even in the darkest hours, happiness is available to us; it is always a choice. In our culture--riddled with cynicism, nihilism, envy, and anger--recognizing that this choice exists is difficult. With reason, with the logic of both the mind and the heart, Robert Spitzer not only convinces us that happiness is within everyone's grasp but also shows us how to seize it. This is an intelligent, warm, and life-changing book."
- Dean Koontz, N Y Times #1 Best-selling Author
“How refreshing to hear from a mind like Fr. Robert Spitzer on the topic of happiness. Too often, books in this genre offer platitudinous advice that is only an inch deep. In refreshing contrast, Fr. Spitzer offers us a meaty book that dives deep into history, philosophy, and science to provide answers that truly satisfy.”
- Jennifer Fulwiler, Author, Something Other Than God
“Fr. Spitzer is a fine guide to the one thing that every human being in the world is seeking: happiness. Read this book and grow wiser in the things of the Spirit.”
- Mark P. Shea, Author, By What Authority?
“One of the most dangerous and destructive illusions of the modern era is the notion that individuals are entirely free to choose what will make them happy. Fr. Spitzer shows that there is a genuinely objective dimension to human happiness, and that some approaches to life are simply incapable of actually bringing about the happiness that human beings desire. He offers a timely explanation of the routes that are really productive of fulfillment and true happiness.”
- Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J., Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University
“All who are interested in true happiness—and finding it—will find this book a very valuable contribution to their search. Spitzer identifies many practical steps for finding the happiness that so many find illusive. I especially admired his rationale for the validity and importance of his highest level of happiness, that which is found in our experience of the transcendent. I recommend that all examine his brilliant summary of evidence for transcendence --and for its fundamental contribution to happiness. This is a book to read and ponder.”
- Paul Vitz, Ph. D., Institute for the Psychological Sciences