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Happiness and the Good Life$
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Mike W. Martin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199845217

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199845217.001.0001

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Happily Self-Deceived

Happily Self-Deceived

(p.64) 5 Happily Self-Deceived
Happiness and the Good Life

Mike W. Martin

Oxford University Press

Does illusion promote or diminish happiness? It might do either, depending on the situation. We are frequently mistaken about what will make us happy, and we can deceive ourselves about how happy we are. Within limits, many of these illusions augment happiness by bolstering hope and confidence. Yet honesty is even more important in the pursuit of happiness, for it helps us identify what we want most, keeps our expectations realistic, and in general keeps us in touch with reality. Examples include Peter Weir’s movie The Truman Show, Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, and Eugene O’Neill’s Iceman Cometh.

Keywords:   happiness, self-deception, illusion, hope, honesty

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