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For Happiness
aka: Ethical Hedonism
'Cause I love to make you smile, smile, smile
Yes I do
It fills my heart with sunshine all the while
Yes it does
'Cause all I really need's a smile, smile, smile
From these happy friends of mine

Bob really likes happiness. Not only for himself or for his loved ones, but for everybody. Since it's often impossible to let everyone be happy, he'll settle for as much happiness as possible to as many as possible. Hence, an entire system of morality based on the pursuit of happiness.

Let's, for example, say that Alice is having a great time hurting Charlie. Bob disapproves: It's a good thing that she's doing something she enjoys, but it's not cool that she's doing it at Charlie's expense. Bob has no desire to punish her for her misdeeds, but might do so if that's the most efficient way to make her stop and to help Charlie get his self-esteem back.

While Bob might be any average guy, his desire to make happiness possible - and especially the fight against needless suffering that comes with it - might drive him to become a hero. In some interpretations of Order vs Chaos, Bob is a Chaotic Good kind of character who might clash with a Lawful Good hero who disregards For Happiness in favor of having For Great Justice as his only driving principle. A hero who in such a setting embraces BOTH For Happiness and For Great Justice, keeping a balance between them when they clash, is usually Neutral Good, although one can find both Utilitarian-type consequentialists and some fairly strict deontologists among the Neutral Good; and in general the matching of philosophy in this regard with one's position on with Order vs. Chaos is true most of the time, but not in every situation.

If the character is also promiscuous or such, it's in an Ethical Slut kind of way. One way of maximizing happiness while keeping the risks of suffering minimal is to make sure that your play (sexually and otherwise) is Safe, Sane and Consensual.

Compare The Needs of the Many, Good Feels Good and The Pollyanna. For more on the philosophy behind For Happiness actions see Ethical Hedonism. Compare and contrast Totalitarian Utilitarian and Happiness Is Mandatory, as well as Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Medaka from Medaka Box.
  • Elmer from Baccano! has this as his raison d'etre: he just wants everyone (particularly his more melancholy immortal bretheren) to smile.
    • One of said immortal brethren, Begg Garoto, is developing the perfect drug in the hopes of providing easy, instant happiness to everyone in the world.
  • Black Lagoon: Rock has this as his hobby. The rest of the cast thinks he's out of his mind, but they also think it's enough reason to let him live.
  • Tomoyo from Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Nessa from Fractale, who "loves love and hates hate."
  • Love Momozono from Fresh Pretty Cure!. She's born with her Multi-Ethnic Name from her parents (but mainly her grandpa) so she's able to spread love and happiness to everyone, and she took that thing at heart. She's extremely friendly, her Catch Phrase is "Get your happiness!", attempts to make her friend happy going south (at first) is enough to make her bawl, and if able, she's also reaching out for some of her enemies to reach their own happiness. It works on Eas, culminating her Heel-Face Turn into Setsuna/Cure Passion, and she even attempts that on the Big Bad Moebius to reach his happiness, which backfires when Moebius declared that his happiness is the destruction of the Pretty Cure, even at cost of his destruction. The Cures survive the attempt, though.
  • In G Gundam, Domon and Rain modify the attack call for the God Finger in the Grand Finale to reflect this attitude.
    These hands of ours are burning red! Domon: Their loud cry tells us- Rain: -to grasp HAPPINESS! Both: Erupting God Finger! Sekiha Love! Love! Tenkyoken!
  • Although he initially seems little more than a self-absorbed Upper-Class Twit, Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club actually subscribes to this philosophy. He wants to have fun, but he wants everyone else to have fun too.
  • Trigun: Vash The Stampede fights with all his heart for LOVE AND PEACE!
  • Rentaro from Black Bullet falls into this. This is a deconstructed trope, as he wants everyone he loves and cares about to be happy, at the expense of his own happiness. The reason he withhold the crucial information about the sad eventual fate of cursed children becoming Gastrea monsters to Enju Aihara, a cursed child and Initiator who happens to have 500 days to live as a human (or the fact that Enju is slowly dying), is because he wants Enju to live a happy life in her remaining time as a human. It bites him in the ass during volumes 5 and 6 where he was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Rentaro told Kisara that he is willing to sacrifice his own happiness and freedom for the sake of Kisara being happy. Needless to say, Kisara broke down in tears simply because Rentaro isn't happy.
  • The titular character from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Apparently, her selfless dedication to make other happy causes her to pull a Heroic Sacrifice at the end involving removing all despair from witches across time at the expense of erasing her own existence.

    Comics 
  • In Prime Baby, the sluglike aliens turn out to be "missionaries of smiles and happy feelings". They hold sing-alongs and knit socks for the homeless.
  • Superman is a rare The Cape example of this trope, at least with regards to his treasured home city of Metropolis. For the rest of the world, he usually takes a more low-profile For Great Justice route, and even then these can swap around. It's all Depending on the Writer.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Zeltron hat is this... mostly. Justified as they're a race of empaths. If someone's unhappy, the whole block knows it and can feel it. The sociopaths of their species usually travel off-world to get away from the good cheer.

    Fan Fiction 

    Film 
  • Amélie, who decides her destiny is to bring happiness and beauty to the lives of others - though she's not above cheating, fabricating, or deceiving to do so.
  • In Happy-Go-Lucky, Poppy just wants to share the joy and that everyone is happy. That goes so far as trying to cheer up even the grumpiest of people she meets.
  • Giselle in Enchanted pretty much acts on this as her life philosophy, up to and including impromptu (delightful) musical numbers.

    Folk Hero 
  • Johnny Appleseed was famous for this. Though he spent most of his life a simple hermit, he made it his mission to cover the United States territories with apple trees so that everyone could enjoy their flowers and fruit. That and get drunk. Apple cider (what he was best remembered for giving to people) ferments very quickly.

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Voyager: As the self-appointed "Morale Officer", the character Neelix is constantly trying to live up to this trope.
  • Yuusuke Godai, the hero of Kamen Rider Kuuga fights to protect people's smiles; likewise his Alternate Universe Expy Yuusuke Onodera from Kamen Rider Decade.
  • In Kamen Rider Double, Shotaro Hidari makes it his mission to make sure no one in Futo cries. The fastest way to set him off is to make sombody cry in his presence.
  • Gentaro Kisaragi, aka Kamen Rider Fourze, also strives to protect the smiles of his friends. And his goal is to befriend everyone he meets.
  • In the Doctor Who serial The War Machines, the bartender asks Polly to help cheer up Ben. Polly comments on how reliably she is called on for such measures.
  • Bones; Brennan found herself bemused at Angela's efforts to raise money to save a baby pig from the slaughterhouse, but finally donated to her cause. Sweets commented at one point, "Sometimes you don't save the world, Dr. Brennan. Sometimes you just make your friend happy."

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons setting Scarred Lands, the titan Gulaben held the powers of granting happiness. The mortal peoples believed her to be For Happiness, and her popularity made her a threat to the Gods' reign over the world. Claiming that her power was merely a sinister kind of Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, the Gods captured her and destroyed all memories of her so that no one would try to set her free. The official truth is that she was a fickle and cruel titan, who might kill you even as she induces pleasure beyond imagination. The gods simply did what they had to do. And since we no longer remember the real truth about Gulaben, we'll just have to take their word for it.

    Video Games 
  • This is pretty much Felicia's outlook on life — pursue happiness, and try to make as many other people happy as possible along the way.
  • The child who is the basis for Labrys personality from Persona 4 Arena.
    • Before that, Maya Amano from Persona 2 is a Cool Big Sis that can always infect her cheerfulness toward the party all way through the duology. "Let's think positive!", indeed.

    Visual Novels 

    Webcomics 
  • In Bob the Angry Flower, Bob realizes that he owes a lot of karma. Since being nicer to people would be too much work, he decides to just dump fifty pounds of Ecstasy in the water supply.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Elan and his mother both always try their best to live up to this trope.
  • One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip starts out by featuring a Straw Character version of For Happiness. He soon becomes a Totalitarian Utilitarian, however.
    • It's not entirely straw. The strip is based on a concept called a utility monster. Normally, it's more cost-effective to help poor people, so utilitarianism leads to a generally egalitarian society. However, if some being existed where its happiness went up linearly with money, it would be more cost-effect to just focus on making that one being absurdly happy.

    Web Original 
  • The aptly named Maximum Fun-Fun Ultra Super Happy People from Three Worlds Collide.
  • This is a simplified explanation for the mission of the Knights Of Fandom: they just want people to be able to enjoy themselves online without having to worry about being harassed through cruel anonymous messages.

    Western Animation 
  • Care Bears more or less revolves around this trope.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender :
    • Aang told Iroh how he'd been told to let go of his love for Katara in order to use his full power, and had refused to do so. Iroh immediately tells him he did the right thing, and that "Power and perfection are overrated".
    • Aang himself has something of this, as even though he does understand it is his destiny to beat the Fire Lord and restore balance to the world, he frequently puts that mission on hold in order to let himself and others have fun.
  • Finn from Adventure Time wants to solve everyone's problems. In another show, the way this was set up would lead to him realizing he can't, and making most people happy, or giving up but finding that making himself happy makes everyone else happier. But this is Adventure Time, after all. So he does it.
    • He does eventually learn that he can't make everybody like him for or by doing so though.
  • Pinkie Pie's talent is making ponies happy, often via parties. Her song "Smile Smile Smile" (from the episode "A Friend In Deed") could be the anthem of this trope.
    • Princess Celestia seems this way, acting like a light-hearted pony who doesn't take herself too seriously and even enjoys a good laugh at her own expense. Over time, we've seen her get more serious, until it's apparent that keeping everyone safe is her main concern, and spreading cheer is what she does in her rare moments of down-time.

    Real Life 
  • This ethical position is an important form of utilitarian philosophy, and has been consistently popular among moral philosophers since the Enlightenment. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill were both major developers of the theory, although "happiness" may sometimes be replaced with a more generally defined "good" or "well-being", or something else altogether like "freedom" or "beauty".
    • Note that there are multiple types of utilitarianism. For instance, while Bentham indicated that one should always do what increases happiness in a sort of general kind of way (called "act utilitarianism"), Mill's definition is rather more complex; most notably, he said that one should always follow the rule that, if consistently applied by everyone, would lead to maximum happiness/the greater good (called "rule utilitarianism").
    • Bentham also believed in "pleasure" as the ultimate good, while Mill said that it is "happiness". Modern utilitarians tend to agree on happiness rather than pleasure as the ultimate end, including most of those who agree with Bentham in being act utilitarians rather than rule (act utilitarianism is probably at least somewhat more common than rule utilitarianism).
  • The United States' Declaration of Independence includes "the pursuit of Happiness" as one of man's inalienable rights.
  • The King of Bhutan measures the prosperity and success of his nation (and, hence, his rule) in terms of Gross Domestic Happiness. While one of the world's poorest countries when measured in dollars, there are more important things in life than luxuries and the Bhutanese people are considered among the most happy ones with the life they have.
    • Note: He is so dedicated to this that he actually gave up power and changed the Government from an Absolute Monarchy to a Constitutional Monarchy
  • The people who give out "Free Hugs" on the street, at least ostensibly.
  • Random acts of kindness.
  • The Wiccan Rede translates to "If it harms none, do what you will." Of course, that means stopping to think about the potential harm of one's actions before undertaking something and taking the route that will cause the least harm and the most happiness when harm cannot be prevented.
  • This is really the soul of entertainment. Given, a large portion of it is made for monetary purposes, but the first person to transcribe a story couldn't have done it out of greed, and still those writing for money are outnumbered greatly by those who just hope for somebody to enjoy their tale. And even with the monetary slant, much of that ends up being cost of living. When it comes down to it, any entertainment/creative industry from music to video games has such high levels of risk/reward and employment that if you really wanted to be rich, you're better off being something like a doctor or lawyer.
  • Article 4 of the French "Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen": Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.


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alternative title(s): Hedonist; Ethical Hedonist; Ethical Hedonism
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