The French novelist, Michel Tournier, believed that euphoria carried within its etymology the key to a fundamental transformation in the Western conception of the self. The word, which is now interpreted as little more than a feeling of light-headedness or a general sensation of well-being, originally occupied a much more moral position. Its Greek root of eu, meaning goodness, happiness, or contentment, and phoria, signifying the act of carrying, reveal a more effort-bound situation in which the individual supports happiness or bears themself with joy. The etymology suggests that contentment and joy are states demanding a persistent and active engagement. Tournier draws a parallel with the coterminous etymology of Christopher, from the martyred giant who achieved his sainthood by carrying Christ.
This idea of euphoria as a state achieved through effort and activity has now largely disappeared. With the advent of Christianity and the rise of Calvinism, in particular, a more passive v