The Changing Face of Happiness

For modern man, form increasingly dictates the substance of thought. Recall from the previous post, Happiness is a Balance, that optimum happiness depends on sustaining optimum internal and external conditions. Since forms are human constructions and are therefore imperfect, it stands to reason that an optimum external situation will be one that contains the least possible quantity of forms necessary to achieve this optimum happiness.

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Happiness is a Balance

Ok, as we left off in the previous post, What does it take to be happy?, Bonnie and Clyde have finally saved up enough loot and have escaped to their tropical paradise. Here we have it: Hollywood’s great formula for happiness: boy meets girl; boy gets girl; boy and girl get a lot of money; and, finally, escape from the rat race. Elements of this formula compose many of the advertising messages Madison Avenue constantly bombards us with.

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What does it take to be happy?

I think most of the developed world has been having a pretty limited conversation when it comes to formulating questions about the conditions necessary to bring about happiness. I don’t mean to suggest that people don’t think about happiness very much. I believe pretty much everyone believes they want to be happy. But I think the breadth and scope of modern man’s ideas concerning what will make him happy have been pared down considerably. For many of us, ideas of happiness have been shaped to a great extent by the needs and language of commerce.

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Equality in Happiness

The second major concept of the happiness principle holds that all people are equal before the throne of the happiness principle.

This is a radical, perhaps revolutionary statement. It runs contrary to fundamental values inherent in many of the world’s leading contemporary societies. Most of us have been taught to believe that talented, hardworking people can possess more happiness than those less well endowed because they have more resources to purchase the things that will supposedly satisfy their needs and wants. Modern economics has been rooted in this idea for a long time.

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The Happiness Principle

I’d like to introduce you to the happiness principle. What is the happiness principle you ask? This is a good question and is very likely one of the most important questions you’ll ever ask. For when it comes down to it, what could be more important than your happiness? The only answer I can think of is my happiness, since my happiness is certainly more urgent to me than yours. Or is it?

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