Illustration by Jesse Kuhn.

Pursuing happiness

The Roman poet Horace tells the story of Lycas, a wealthy merchant who spent his days entertained by imagined actors performing nonexistent dramatic plays on the grounds of his estate. Lycas drew his greatest joy in life from these imaginary performances, but to onlookers his behavior was sheer madness.

Should one value and affirm a happiness that is based on an illusion? Lycas's relatives thought not. When they finally awakened him from his dream world, Lycas reacted as if betrayed: "You call it rescue, my friends, but what you have done is murder me!"

 

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