“The pursuit of eudaimonia is one of the most important goals for humankind,”- James Otteson, executive director of the Eudaimonia Institute
I saw this headline the other day about Wake Forest University receiving $4.2 million to study human flourishing through its Eudaimonia Institute. Holy shit, I thought, what the hell is Eudaimonia let alone human flourishing. So what did I do? I Googled it.
A little about me and my language challenges. I have a form of Dyslexia. As I describe it I can’t put the letters together to see how a word should sound if that makes any sense. From my perspective, the effect it has had on me is that it has severely limited my vocabulary. As a child, rather than struggling over a word while reading I simply skipped over it. When I did that I missed the opportunity to have that word or words imprinted on my brain for future recognition or use. The other unfortunate side effect is that I didn’t enjoy reading, so I didn’t enjoy grammar or punctuation, etc., etc. But the most unfortunate aspect of dealing with this issue was that it made me feel stupid, an insecurity I deal with to this day.
My wife and kids play a cruel trick on me from time to time. One will say what do you feel like for dinner? While another responds “Let’s go get a B-U-R-R-I-T-O” knowing damn well my brain can’t process the spelling of Burrito as the word Burrito. Again, I can’t put the letters together to see how the word should sound.
Because of my spelling and pronunciation challenges I have decided that my brain is perfectly suited for coming up with the crazy drug names I see on commercials every night on the news. Words like Celebrex, Celexa, Celecoxib, Linezolid, Metaxalone, Moxifloxacin, Pancuronium. Come on, am I really the only one that has no idea how these words should sound? I am convinced that I am missing a golden opportunity to make a mint on inventing dumb ass sounding words, hell I do it everyday for free.
So back to Eudaimonia, Wikipedia (thank god for Wikipedia) defines Eudaimonia as “a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, human flourishing has been proposed as a more accurate translation”. Yup, sounds like a pretty wonderful word but like my mean 5th grade english teacher used to ask “Can you use it in a sentence?”. Use it? Hell I can’t even say it.