The Nature of Happiness
Smelled a Rose Today?? -- Why Not?
----- The achievement of lasting happiness depends on our ability to understand and to align ourselves with the true nature of objective reality.
Epicurus showed us the way: He concluded that Happiness is rooted in the elimination of pain and the achievement of tranquility. ------- Modern psychology confirms his ideas and provides further insights by correlating the pain/happiness syndrome with evolutionary psychology. ------ Man now has the knowledge, and the choice, to free himself from the slavery of obsolete icons.
Before we can achieve happiness by closely aligning ourselves with Objective Reality, we must clearly understand the true nature of Objective Reality --- we must understand how the world really works --- even if we have to demolish a few "icons" and other popular misconceptions.
If we wish to achieve happiness, it is imperative that we perceive Objective Reality as clearly as humanly possible.
What is Happiness?
Happiness is simply an emotional state of feeling good, of being free from pain and unpleasant emotions.
Unfortunately, happiness is an elusive state of mind that all men strive for but few attain.
As Thoreau told us in Walden: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
However, once we understand the mechanics and principles of Happiness, we realize that there is no need for and no point in being unhappy, ever.
There are no free lunches in life but anybody can achieve lasting happiness if he makes the effort to absorb the underlying principles involved. Unhappiness used to be considered an unavoidable part of human existence. Knowledge and rationality can help us overcome this dilemma.
Most people oscillate between short bursts of happiness and long periods of neutral emotions or unhappiness. Only recently have we gained the insight that happiness need not merely be an involuntary emotional response to outside events. Happiness can be purposefully achieved, maintained and enhanced by our rational mind.
Human problems and unhappiness can exist only when our actions, perceptions or expectations are not in alignment with objective reality: When we do not clearly understand what is really happening in the objective reality of our world around us. What is Objective Reality?
Objective Reality is everything that exists with or without human acknowledgment. What we call "nature" is the small part of Objective Reality that surrounds us and, of course, people are just as much part of Objective Reality, as trees, the ocean or other galaxies. Objective reality is everything that just simply exists. Objective Reality existed long before humans inhabited the world. It will exist long after we as individuals, or even the human race, will have disappeared.
If we could have total, absolute knowledge and understanding of Objective Reality, we would be in complete alignment with the world around us. Conflicts and problems would disappear because they can only arise when our perceptions or our expectations are in conflict with Objective Reality. It is as simple as that.
Can we really "choose" to be happy or unhappy? Answering this question gives us the first opportunity to face Objective Reality head-on: Merely saying that something can be done just because we choose to do it, choosing between inaccessible alternatives, is counterproductive: I cannot jump to the moon merely because I choose to do so.
However, there is nothing to stop us from getting to the moon, if we see the reality of the steps necessary to accomplish it: To provide ourselves with the technology, with the knowledge required, to build the rocket to get to the moon.
Before we can choose to go to the moon, before we can choose to be happy or unhappy, it is absolutely essential that we have an exceedingly clear view of objective reality without fudging, wishful thinking or irrationality.
We need to have a clear view of the way the world really is and the connectivity of man to the universe. We need to segregate relevant knowledge. such as Gravity and Probability, from knowledge that is irrelevant to human existence, such as the Big Bang. From cosmology to geology, from evolution to psychology, we need to provide ourselves with the clearest possible perspective of the way things really are.
We have to take a hard look at such relative, human concepts as fairness, patriotism, pride, beauty, honor, religion, good and evil, altruism, and other perplexing ideas. Many of these ancient concepts, these icons, are obsolete in view of our current knowledge of the universe. We have to decide which of these icons need to be replaced with a reality based fact-system.
Above all, we must clearly understand that human "problems" are always the result of our misalignment with reality. In order to be closely aligned with objective reality we need to separate the wheat from the chaff. The more we dig, the more chaff we have to shovel. From politics to love, from economics to sex.
Most people have a severely distorted world view. They are stumbling through life, confused, aimless and unable to achieve happiness . Most of these distortions are generated by inadequate education and faulty conditioning. We need not be intellectual giants, but a minimum of intelligence is helpful for a clear understanding of the world around us.
Persons who rely on religion for guidance through the shoals of life have to overcome a particularly obstinate impediment: They need to abandon the illusory comforts of a belief system that is steeped in irrationality, and replace it with a reality-based fact system. However, many religious persons have probably harbored doubts about the effectiveness of their belief system. They merely need to come to grips with the fact that there are new and more effective means of dealing with the realities of life.
Many people are ineffective in recognizing the reality of problematic situations and thus do not have the option of choosing between happiness and unhappiness. However, it is within the grasp of modern man to acquire a very thorough understanding of Objective Reality and of man's position in the universe.
And yet, even with the best tools of modern science we can perceive only a fraction of the environment in which we are submerged. It is inherently impossible for man to have total knowledge of reality. Therefore it is not possibly be in total alignment with Objective Reality at all times.
It is the human lot to have some conflicts and problems. And yet, by perceiving Objective Reality as clearly as humanly possible, we can minimize our conflicts and can thus optimize our happiness.
Who would rather cry than laugh? Who would choose to be unhappy if it is just as easy to be happy?
If we take responsibility for our emotional response to all events in our life, there is nobody else to blame if we are not happy! The choice is ours alone.
Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.
"Happiness depends upon ourselves." --- ARISTOTLE
Copyright © Walter E. Requadt All Rights