From Alexander Pope's exclamation “Oh happiness! Our being’s end and aim!” to the smiling faces on our billboards and magazines; for centuries, the West has believed that striving for happiness is a noble ambition. Yet many argue this approach is mistaken. The proportion of those who claim that they are 'unhappy' in the West has risen by 50% since the 1950s. And recent studies show that despite New Zealand's introduction of a world happiness index in 2014, they still have one of the highest rates of depression and suicide in the developed world today.

Is our search for happiness not only a grave mistake but the source of much of life's negativity?  Should we abandon our current attachment to achieving happiness and instead seek purpose in the achievement of some higher personal and collective goal?  Or in an age of declining religious belief, is the pursuit of happiness the only meaningful goal we have left?

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