"Eudaimonia: (Greek, happiness, well-being, success) The central goal of all systems of ancient ethics; according to Aristotle, the ‘best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world’" - The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy in Religion & Philosophy
I've written of this before: eudamonia means well-being/flourishing, and you get it though arete, or excellence. Eudaimonia made it into the Declaration of Independence as "pursuit of happiness," which in no way gives the full flavor of what eudaimonia really means.
And how do you get excellence? Through autonomy, mastery and purpose. See the video for an explanation.
No matter which way I turn, everything is supposed to lead to achieving eudaimonia. What's the purpose of education (which means "to draw out")? To identify your strengths and develop them to your fullest. That is, excellence. Do we have it? Sometimes. Otherwise, nope.
I blame a lot of our school problems not on the teachers, but on the fact our "public" schools are actually socialist - which means everyone is supposed to be "equal." Which is an impossibility. We are not blank slates. Everyone is unequal in their inborn talents.
Socialism doesn't support civilization; it destroys it. The evidence for this is without exception. Yet there are those who attempt to impose it every generation.
The purpose of culture? Same thing. To develop our inborn strengths. Do we have that? No, not really. Our culture is in many ways degraded - our music and other arts especially.
Political science? Same thing. It's supposed to improve our lives to the extent it can. Instead we have a bunch of psychopathic politicians and incompetent economists tormenting us and damaging everything they can put their grubbby little paws on.
Religion? Sometimes. The word means "to bind," which I've heard described as "the social glue that keeps us from coming undone into sheer chaos and rules of the jungle anarchy. It keeps us sane."
For that matter, did not Jesus say, "I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!" Or instead of "overflow," sometimes "complete," sometimes "full." Eudaimonia.
Education, culture, political science, religion...all of them are supposed to keep the chaos at bay and after that, allow us to develop to our best, to achieve eudaimonia through arete. They are supposed to be the best they are be, to allow us to be the best we can be.
All of those things are supposed to be in service to us, and once we are the best we can be, then we can support education, culture, political economy, and religion.
But the way things stand now, those things often use us and expect us to be in service of them. That's what I mean by the Machine State: we're supposed to be cogs in service of the Machine.
The mythologist Joseph Campbell might have put it best: "Man should not be in the service of society, society should be in the service of man. When man is in the service of society, you have a monster state, and that's what is threatening the world at this minute."
"...there is a very significant difference between the typically ancient and the typically modern meaning of happiness. Ancient words for happiness, like eudaimonia, or makarios in Greek or beatitudo in Latin, mean true, real blessedness." - Catholic Resource Education Center