Familiar topic, new approach.
I believe what the founders meant by "pursuit of happiness" was to live a life unencumbered by government restraint. After all, the constitution was written to define the relationship between the government and those governed.
I agree happiness is subjective, but isn't is funny how most of us equate happiness with financial independence. We all assume people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are all gloriously happy. But, I would venture a guess that if you asked these people they would say they have their times of doubt and sadness in their lives. Some are unable to define what happiness means in their lives due to things like mental illness or past tragic events. If you can define happiness in your life and are willing to pursue it then you can and should do so. The founding fathers would approve.
The definition of happiness changed completely for me when I became a Buddhist. I no longer look for status, money nor fame. I’m satisfied with “enough” and am content. In the US, I think many pursue fleeting rewards because of what we see on tv that takes up too much space in our minds all day. We have cell phones, watches, alarms, schedules, deadlines and news blasted at us all day. Even school children have sports, band, and other activities that they have to be involved with, while their parents ferry them back and forth. That just being alone with no noise would drive most Americans nuts. But if we just listened to and accepted what’s around us, and learned to be calm within, ah, there is long term happiness.
THIS is why I invest in "Understandably". Thought-provoking, captive topic.
Great topic Bill. Good for you. Sometimes I feel many people forget that life’s journey is filled with happy moments and only striving for the destination leaves us missing some of the best moments. ☺️
I always find this topic so interesting because everyday I work with people wanting to be happier. I often frame it as creating a model of happiness for themselves - for example - how a person defines happiness (it means something different to each person), what they want it to look like, what they want to keep in their life and the things they want to change - just a few variables. I have found what affects people a lot is when they read 'follow your passion' or 'do what you want'..these are vague statements and can leave a person feeling less than and falling short in life- even though that might not be the situation. To Greg C's point - if you can define happiness in your life and willing to pursue then do that.. and if you are able to do that. Being able to create a healthy model of happiness also means putting in the time and effort and also recognizing some of the challenges that you may have along the way but being able to overcome that. Happiness is also about being able to integrate the things that are important to a person- which is why sometimes people don't feel 'happy' - because maybe they cannot do that at the given time - or compare themselves to others, assuming they are happy. Anyway, always an interesting read and like reading people's comments.
I wake up in the morning, I’m happy. I have food to eat, I’m happy. A roof over my head, happy. Nobody’s shooting at me, yep, happy. I question the comment “Remember that your brain was built for an earlier era” but I’m still happy. When I consider the alternative (unhappy), it doesn’t appeal to me so I choose happy. Too simplistic? Maybe but it works for me. 😋
The book The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer is a masterpiece for thoughtfulness on being present and therefore maintaining a posture that could be described as happiness.
Happiness can be tied to others, not just for ourselves. It’s joyous to participate in an event with others who also enjoy the same thing. I like the reminder for us to be continually grateful; right now I’m struggling with a family member for whom I feel really bad about her lack of a permanent living situation. Yet, I’d like to believe there’s a silver lining involved with even this, though I may not see it.
Bill, I occasionally coin a new and usually stupid and opinionated phrase or saying. Here's one FWIW: "Happiness is in the mind of the experiencer." Happiness, for me, is the state of loving life. I think if you can't love your life, you can't be happy, and vice versa. Is it really that simple? I believe so.
About the first part of the "7 other things," It's a good thing we have a new grand telescope in space. Earthbound telescopes may soon be a thing of the past. Alas, poor Galileo!