Philosopher John Stuart Mills says “Ask yourself whether you’re happy, and you cease to be happy” (R.D. 2013)
Comedian Arthur Smith says “…it needs to be a temporary state, otherwise, what would drive you forward?” (R.D. 2013)
Mills use of the word ‘whether’ should be changed to ‘if’ for correct English, but apart from that, I can agree with the statement. Happiness is an emotion. An emotion can’t be analysed in the logical section of the brain. An emotion can’t be dissected by science, and truly defined and reasoned.
Smith is correct in his view that being happy is a temporary state, and that we all strive for happiness in our lives. But the happiness that he talks about is not one of deep contentment or joy in ones life, but a fleeting feeling, which makes you smile, or in some cases laugh.
Joy or contentment come from the soul, the inner most being of a person. Being Joyful or contented is a value or character trait that we all should strive for. I don’t believe that this is brought about by ‘things’ or passing situations, but it is being at peace with where one is. Having come to terms with the past, or where one was, and being optimistic about the future or where one is going.
Having a life goal, or plan for ones life is a start toward contentment and inner joy. If you have a target, you have something to aim for.
Why do I write, paint, or photograph creation and the created? My goal is to share the beauty of life with those who have less ability or opportunity to see that beauty for themselves. I guess this is my legacy.
Why do teachers teach, instructors instruct, or tradesmen pass on their trade to the apprentices? They want to leave a legacy. It justifies their existence. The masters feel content that what they are passing on is of worth. The teachers are joyful when a student has an epiphany, a moment when His eyes are opened and “He gets it”. The contentment is the value, the happiness a result of that value being understood.
Find your life goal, map out a plan on how to achieve it, strive toward it, and you will find the contentment that is within you waiting to be hatched and exposed to the world.
quotes from Readers Digest Australia, November 2013, page s32.