Monday, January 4, 2016

On ‘the Search for Happiness’

One emotion that unfortunately does not have a clear meaning is happiness. Although it is considered a desirable state to be in no one is able to explain without ambiguity what happiness really is. Some say it is a state of mind; others say that it is a euphemism in some sense for the word ‘pleasure’ which is normally a word used in the context of human or animal instincts and there are those who say that happiness in the ideal sense is an illusion. But whatever be the specific meanings that people ascribe to it, it remains a word of the heavens. By ‘word of the heavens’ I mean something that does not have an earthly place as it is not a plain emotion. Yet people are searching for it hoping that they will find it sooner or later. In the struggles of their situations some may give up the hope of finding happiness and be content with their predicament. This is a rather unusual state to be in because on one hand they have not found the state of mind that they are looking for and on the other they give up the search accepting what little they have and they find it! But there is a pathetic fallacy associated with the search for happiness and it is that one usually does not know to what extent happiness is possible and how to preserve it till the end; yet one wants it quite desperately. 

From time to time it has been observed that we go through happy moments now and then. If they are outcomes of the dreadful word ‘success’ then you can be quite sure that it is subject to insecurity. Preservation of a success induced joyful state is by no means happiness. Happiness is a joyful state which is experienced for its own sake or when you are involved in an activity that you like without any intentions of benefiting from it in the future. Happiness from this angle never exists in the future. Attempts to discover happiness only leads to creating techniques that will have to be applied to be able to find it. But application is a process which has nothing to do with the end result, which in this case is happiness. There have been people who write about happiness; psychologists who research on the subject and find only their own perspectives of it. Whatever be the attempts to find the heavenly state and preserve it till kingdom come, you should be spared the vanity of associating it with success or priggish talks. It must be noted that one who experiences anxiety does not want to be unhappy but is desperately trying to find this heavenly state of mind. One who is anxious is not just tired but is terrified at the thought of consequences of not finishing the line or entering mainstream. He is anxious and not unhappy. 

The only person who really is unhappy is one who is able to see that nothing in life can ever bring him happiness. If nothing can bring me happiness even from within then I would not want to keep searching for it as it is a waste of intrapersonal effort. If I am unhappy then I may consider not looking for happiness at all and this unhappy mind does away with itself. It has let go of my unreasonable search of that which I cannot describe. If I cannot describe it and have no idea of what it is then it does not exist in my being. If someone else finds it in common pursuits then I can be quite sure that that is not my concept of happiness because I cannot find it. Happiness is simply a myth.

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