For Aristotle, happiness is the highest good that people can comprehend. A man always tends to set goals that he considers good for himself. Aristotle argues that this goal is happiness. Therefore, happiness is what all people seek. The question is what is this happiness? Many people believe that happiness lies in sensual pleasures and luxury; some believe that it is in gaining of power, honors and reputation. However, this cannot be the aim of a man. The life wholly dedicated to pleasure resembles the life of animals (Aristotle). Aristotle argued that honor is something external; people look for honors not for themselves, but for public support of their "kindness." Life dedicated to hoarding of wealth also cannot lead to the true happiness: such life is absurd, because we dedicate it to the means, not the ultimate goal. The question is then, what is good for a man? A good of a man is based on specific human abilities that only he possesses. In general, the good of everything lies at its specific function or faculty: the function of ears is listening, the function of the eye is to see, and so on. D. The question is, what is a specific function, or better to say, ability of men? Life is not man`s ability because life is inherent to all vegetative creatures. It is not senses because all animals have senses as well. Aristotle concludes that a specific faculty of a man is mind as well as the ability to control one`s soul with the mind and reason. Aristotle calls the soul and mind as "the elements of God" which are identified with the man himself. (Aristotle).
As we see, for Aristotle, happiness is in the acts of the mind and soul. Happiness is associated with the activity, not with what a person has or has not. The activity, among other things, is in the ability to search for the higher good, as well as to search for an appropriate way to implement this good. Happiness is also in the ability to follow by the rule of the golden mean, which is not to go to extremes. For example, a man must find a happy medium between wastefulness and avarice when it comes to money. (Aristotle)
We often think that if we get something, or if something happens, then we will become happy without making any effort: as fate decides everything, we have no influence on our happiness. However, according to Aristotle, happiness is a vital activity that brings great joy and pure bliss. This activity implies that you have to work on yourself, your self-awareness and consciousness. Happiness is the experience of life. Activity always implies that there is a certain goal or objective that must be achieved. Aristotle thoroughly conceived the joy of life, combined with consciousness and activity. This great joy is not joy that comes from comprehension of the object of our desire, or from the understanding that you own or will own certain material values, but the joy that comes from feeling that we live through the activity. (Otfreid)
Aristotle, , W D. Ross, J L. Ackrill, and J O. Urmson. The Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford (Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1998. Internet resource.
Höffe, Otfried. Aristotle's "nicomachean Ethics". Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, 2010. Internet resource.