Dépend-il de nous d’être heureux?
day-pah teel duh NOO det truh-RUH? Click below to hear the audio file!
Are we responsible for our happiness?
A little philosophy today! The subject for the French baccalauréat in philosophy was just announced. This is a big deal; the baccalauréat (bah-kah-lo-ray-AH, usually called le bac, luh BACK) is the degree that follows le lycée (luh lee-SAY, roughly translated as high school, but really closer to the level of an American college sophomore at the end of that year). The test that students must pass in order to go on to l’université (lew-nee-vair-see-TAY) is difficult, and many don’t make the grade.
The essay question in the philosophy exam is today’s expression: Dépend-il de nous d’être heureux? Literally, does it depend on us to be happy? There are many sides to this question! Does our happiness come exclusively from within ourselves? How does that happen? Do we make it happen, or is it given to us? Does it come from someone or something outside of ourselves? If so, from what or from whom? Are we required to be happy, or can we choose not to be happy? Why be happy? What is happiness? And more….
I invite you to submit your answers, short or long, in French or in English, as comments to this post. I will publish as many as I can. You do not have to sign your real name, if you prefer not to do so. This is not a test! But let’s get a conversation going.
Just one little note about pronunciation: Did you notice the liaison in the middle of dépend-il? It’s spelled with a d, but pronounced with a /t/. That’s always how you carry over a d to the next word.