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Page history last edited by Andrea Brownstein 15 years, 3 months ago



The world has to learn that the actual pleasure derived from material things is of rather low quality on the whole and less even in quantity than it looks to those who have not tried it. –Oliver Wendell Holmes






  • Aristotle's philosophy of happiness has shaped that idea in the west for two millenia. For a modern commentary on Aristotle, read Mortimer Adler's lecture.
  • Plato described the lost city of Atlantis and gave us an early idea of peace and prosperity, tellingly lost to greed and corruption.
  • Epicurus
  • The Land of Cockaigne is the name for our extravagant fantasies of the good life; Bruegel's painting (left, above) gives those ideas a form.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain, written in the 1930s, is one hobo's idea of the perfect existence.  Martin Luther King's 1963 speech, I Have a Dream  offers us a more serious modern version of an edenic world.





Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "The Land of Cockaigne" (1567) and Nicholas Poussin, "Et in Arcadia Ego" (ca. 1640)

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