Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting back to a subject I started a month ago—being happy. On September 6th I mentioned that I thought the chief purpose of life might be enjoying oneself. I also mentioned that statement required clarification. I’m going to try to do that here—for my own benefit. I’m just going to ramble for a bit and see what I come up with.

At first it may seem that by a purpose of enjoying oneself I’m advocating simply going out and having fun all the time—drinking beer, eating up a storm or whatever. Those things may be enjoyable, but that’s not what I consider to be bringing happiness to one’s life. A couple synonyms for the word “happy” are joyous and ecstatic. That sounds like somebody who is “high”, either due to a physical substance or some emotional zenith. Both are shallow and temporary states. What I’m talking about is something deeper and more lasting.

True happiness comes from the core of one’s being and I believe that at that core we are all basically the same. No matter what one exhibits as personality, there is a basic desire—a need—for certain things. Those things go beyond food, clothing and shelter. There is a need for what we might call “security of self.” That’s an over-simplification but it’s a handy term to use. Security of self—it might be called belonging—consists of a sense of being valuable and respected (both by others and by oneself). That, again, is an over-simplification, but without that how can one be happy?

It seems to me that a person’s sense of a lack in this “security of self” causes even more unhappiness. The individual attempts to compensate for that lack and usually he or she does it by making himself or herself feel more important than others. That is done by physical means, the only course obvious. It could be done by acquiring things—clothes, jewelry, cars, houses, money or by changing one’s appearance. It could be done by establishing dominance over others or one could try to avoid the problem entirely and escape through use of drugs or alcohol.

But do any of those methods ever bring true happiness? They are all temporary fixes. They do not really give one “security of self.” That elusive state is not achieved by physical means alone.

I have to think about this some more. Anyone out there have any ideas?

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