The aim is not the positive pursuit of pleasure but rather the absence of pain, a neutral state called ‘ataraxia’

Epicures (350BC)


Life is suffering

The Buddha taught there are three main categories of dukkha

  • dukkha-dukkha Suffering or physical, emotional and mental pain
  • viparinama-dukkha Anything that is subject to change, like happiness, succes etc.
  • samkhara-dukkha  dependent on, or affected by something else

Dukkha is one of the three marks of existence, namely dukkha (“suffering”), anatta (not-self), anicca (“impermanence”).

Buddha (600 – 400BC)

Both Hinduism and Buddhism emphasize that one overcomes dukha through the development of understanding.
Hinduism emphasizes the understanding and acceptance of Atman (self, soul) and Brahman, while Buddhism emphasizes the understanding and acceptance of Anatta(Anatman, non-self, non-soul)



Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence “eudaimonia”

Aristotle (350BC)

Two of the most influential forms are those of Aristotle and the Stoics. Aristotle takes virtue and its exercise to be the most important constituent in eudaimonia but acknowledges also the importance of external goods such as health, wealth, and beauty. By contrast, the Stoics make virtue necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia and thus deny the necessity of external goods.



“going along with things,” / “going with the flow.”

Zhuangzi (2500 BC)

Flow is the word we use today. Flow, also known as the zone. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.