There is considerable interest these days in issues of happiness and well-being. It would seem that happiness has become a fundamental need for the modern soul. I am not sure that this has always been the case. For example, in Simone Weil’s account of the needs of the soul, written in 1943, happiness does not appear; instead, there is a focus on needs such as liberty, order, responsibility, equality, security and truth (Weil, 1986). Perhaps this is unsurprising given the context for her essay. At other times, authenticity may have more of a pivotal place in the needs of the soul. Indeed, as Bernard Williams put it, ‘Men do, as a matter of fact, find value in such things as submission, trust, uncertainty, risk, even despair and suffering, and these values can scarcely all be related to a central idea of happiness ’ (1972, p. 80).