Happiness as a Goal
Of the non-Japanese scholars referenced by Makiguchi in his pedagogy, the works of French sociologist Emile Durkheim--in 1930 only recently and not yet fully translated into Japanese--occupy a particularly prominent place. Makiguchi clearly resonated with the idea that education should be understood as a process of socialization, developing within children the qualities and capacities needed to live as contributing members of their respective societies. Both Durkheim and Makiguchi viewed human beings as essentially social in nature, seeing our social connections and interactions as indispensable to the growth and development of individuals. Neither saw individuals and society as being locked in fundamental conflict or contradiction.
The objectives sought by society must be in accord with the goals of the individual for personal growth. The respective objectives [of society and individuals], authentically understood, do not involve making one the means to the realization of the other. It is only natural that the achievement of the goals necessary to the continued existence of the one should be embraced by the other.
In other words, the state exists only because its citizens exist; society exists only because of individuals. The growth and development of individuals brings the flourishing, fulfillment and growth of the national society. Conversely, the diminution of the individual brings the decline of the state, its loss of energy and influence. National society flourishes through the solidarity of its component elements; is weakened by divisions among them; and ceases to exist through their dispersal. 1
Makiguchi argued that the goals of education must thus be in accord with those of individuals and the society they form. The objective toward which individuals strive is happiness; this must also therefore be the objective of society. The ultimate goal of education must be the attainment of happiness.
Other than "happiness" there is no word that fully and accurately expresses the unhindered pursuit of the cultural life that is the objective of education. From my own experience of the past several decades and from pondering this question over that time, I have come to believe this word gives the most realistic, straightforward and apt expression to the goal of life desired and sought by all people. 2