eudaimonia

εὐδαιμονία This is the term commonly translated as happiness but better translated as “human flourishing” –to flourish by realizing one’s ideal end/ goal, by achieving the purpose of human life with excellence or virtue, particularly in the works Plato and Aristotle. Eudaimonia comes from “eu” –“good” and “daimon” (δαίμων) which is a spirit, even “divine spirit” in human beings. The idea of daimon has many different forms. In the Apology, recall that Socrates mentions the daimon that speaks to him, “…something divine and godlike comes to me…I have had it from childhood. It comes as a kind of voice, and when it comes, it always turns me away from what I am about to do, but never towards it.” (31d) In the Cratylus (398b) Plato connects daimon to δαήμονες (daēmones) meaning that which has knowledge or wisdom. In the Symposium, Diotima says that love is not a god, but rather: “A great divinity, Socrates; for in fact, the whole realm of divinity is intermediate between god and mortal.” (202 d,e) In early Greek culture we see references to the good spirit, the agathodaimon (αγαθος δαιμων). The agathodaimon was associated with the health and well being of vineyards (so one often offered a libation to this spirit before drinking—remember this happens in the Symposium), as well as the fertility of the fields and harvests; agathodaimon could also serve as a guiding spirit (much as Socrates describes), guard against bad luck and protect from bad health, bad fortune, etc. Later Greek Hellenism posited both good and evil spirits, eudaimons and kakodaimons, (from “kako” bad or evil). Note that Liddell and Scott thus define eudaimonia as “ blessed with a good genius; hence fortunate, happy, blest.”