General Questions

How long did it take you to write this book?
Less than a year. But the authors have been studying and preparing for this book for over 40 years, and the concepts that we are writing about have been around for 2,500 years (since the time of Plato and Aristotle).
Why do we need to know this?
Many people, at some point in their lives, struggle with deep feelings of unhappiness and discontent about life in general. Unfortunately, most people do not spend much time deeply reflecting on what happiness really means, and what life is all about. If you don’t spend time examining the most important questions about the meaning and purpose of human life, you are likely to accept popular definitions that tend to focus on materialism and ego-gratification. This will color the way you define every other important term, like what you think success means, what quality of life is, what love is, whether suffering has any meaning, what makes you free and what makes you unfree, what’s good, what’s evil, what’s just, what’s unjust, etc. We think you are mature enough to handle these questions now; and we think you deserve time to study what other people have thought, and make decisions that will affect how you live the rest of your life.
Do we truly know happiness?
We think you can truly know happiness. But like the answer to the question above, you will have to verify this for yourself. Happiness is a personal journey for each of us. We think we have provided you with a very useful tool for finding happiness in your own life, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to use it, and whether it rings true in your soul.
How do we know if we have achieved true and lasting happiness?
You will have a deep and abiding peace, and will sense that your life has an ultimate purpose.
How do I learn more about the levels of happiness?

Here are four great resources you can check out:

  1. Book: Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues by Robert J. Spitzer. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press), 2011.
  2. Book: Healing the Culture: A Commonsense Philosophy of Happiness, Freedom, and the Life Issues, by Robert J. Spitzer. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press), 2000.
  3. Website:
What makes you happy?
The person typing the answers to this question responds: “Ice cream makes me happy. So does prayer and doing community service. I am happiest when I am eating ice cream at church during a community service project.”
Is anyone truly happy in every way?
Yes. People in heaven are. And people on earth can be, but it takes time, work, patience, practice, and forgiving yourself when you have setbacks.
Is there a way that you can just be happy?
Yes, you can “feel happiness” for no particular reason – like you might just be sitting around not doing anything, and you just feel content. But we’re not using the word “happiness” this way in this course. We are defining happiness as “meaning and purpose in life.” So you wouldn’t really believe you have meaning and purpose in life for no reason.
What does it mean to be sad?
Sadness can be defined as the lack of fulfillment of a certain level of happiness. For example, you can be sad because you have lost a friendship with someone you loved (a lack of fulfillment on Level 3), but you might at the same time be happy on Level 4 because you turn to God and seek His help in this situation, and you feel His peaceful presence.

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