What is happiness?

When I was writing Wellbeing, a number of words seemed to be key when asking about what happiness is. I suspect that one of the reasons the happiness debate can be so heated stems from the stress that is placed upon the different, even opposite, ideas that these words represent. Though it’s not in the book, I did draw up a chart of these words across an axis that runs roughly from a more materialist conception of happiness to a more spiritual conception. Though of limited value – because it begs the question of why words are placed in particular positions – it helped me reflect on what happiness can mean.