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Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our…

Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts (Happiness,…

by Robert J. Spitzer

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In Finding True Happiness Jesuit Fr. Robert Spitzer outlines a philosophical and theological framework for understanding and experiencing happiness. He proposes four types or “levels” of happiness, beginning with external pleasure and culminating with transcendent spiritual experience. He then lays out a program for experiencing the positive elements of the lower levels of happiness while answering the call of our transcendent desires and encountering God in a direct, dynamic way.

Fr. Spitzer draws heavily from the Catholic philosophical and theological tradition; readers interested in further reading on the subject will want to peruse the lengthy bibliography. Three more planned volumes in the series will tackle evidence for humanity’s transcendent nature; Jesus Christ’s revelation of God’s desires for humanity; and the problem of evil and suffering.

Finding True Happiness is not written with a lay audience in mind and casual readers may find the philosophical style daunting. Nevertheless the book is an important contribution to Catholic teaching on human desire and happiness.

Recommended for college and theological libraries.

N.B.: I received a free review copy of this book from the Catholic Library Association. This review was originally published in the March 2016 issue of Catholic Library World. ( )
  sullijo | Apr 21, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 158617956X, Paperback)

One of the hottest topics in contemporary culture is happiness. 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.

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, 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.

"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

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 04 Jul 2015 18:14:40 -0400)

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