It is also one of the motto besides Life and Liberty for USA as a nation.
Now, happiness can mean different things to different people.
So, people may pursue different things to arrive at happiness.
But common mistake would be, taking pleasure for happiness.
In that case,
‘Pursuit of Happiness’ would become ‘Pursuit of Pleasure’.
But Pleasure and Happiness are not the same.
For example a rapist can have pleasure but not happiness.
This may be an extreme example but make things bluntly clear.
That is, pleasures can also be sadistic in nature.
Unlike happiness which can always be shared, pleasure need not be a mutual experience.
So, one can pursue pleasure even with sick/negative state of mind
But, happiness can be discovered only by a healthy/positive mind.
In fact there is no sadistic happiness.
So, we need to know the difference between pleasure and happiness to pursue happiness.
Below are some general characteristics which differentiate them.
Characteristics of Pleasure:
Pleasure is sought
Pleasure is always known; one had it before and knows the means of getting it.
Pleasure is always terminated and leaves a residue of incompletion in the mind, which leads to repetition of the act in search of elusive consummation.
Pleasure is a destination; it is at the end of an act and terminated afterwards.
Characteristics of Happiness:
Happiness is not sought but discovered.
Happiness is not known, it doesn’t depend on the past. It is always a new experience
Happiness is always consummated (not terminated) leaving a sense of fulfillment in the mind.
Happiness is a journey; it has no predetermined beginning or ending.
The above brief may be abstract but one can easily see the basic difference between pleasure and happiness.
That is to say, pursuit of pleasure and pursuit of happiness are not the same.
So to have it right, Pursuit of Happiness should also include pursuit of wellness of the mind.
Otherwise one may not arrive at happiness even after successful pursuit.