When our fore father’s were writing what would become one of the most important and controversial documents framing societal mores so to speak, they obviously believed that “happiness” was an important factor by including;
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” one of the most famous phrases in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and seen as part of the Bill of Rights, namely, these three aspects are listed among the “inalienable rights” of man.
It seems in this time of political turmoil, an ongoing war in Iraq and the economy stressing out just about everyone, the subject of “happiness” is being discussed and dissected more than ever.
The British BBC television kicked off a six part series on the subject this week;
“The series looks at the newest research from around the world to find out what could it be that makes us happy.
We all want to be happy but the problem has always been that you can’t measure happiness.
Happiness has always been seen as too vague a concept, as Lord Layard, Professor of Economics at the LSE and author of “Happiness – lessons from a new science” points out.
“There is a problem with the word happiness.
“When you use the word happy, it often has the sort of context of balloons floating up into the sky or something frivolous.”
Now scientists say they can actually measure happiness.
Neuro-scientists are measuring pleasure. They suggest that happiness is more than a vague concept or mood; it is real. “
Clearly “happiness”, it’s meaning and importance differs individually. The following are some fascinating and revealing quotes about the subject from writer’s, philosophers and other colorful characters I found worth sharing:
I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy. ~Franz Kafka
If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time. ~Edith Wharton
Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. ~Fyodor Dostoevsky
This is my “depressed stance.” When you’re depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you’ll start to feel better. If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’ve got to stand like this. ~Charlie Brown
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. ~Camus
There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.~Carl Jung .
Obviously there are divergent views of the concept of “happiness.” The song below is my own way of perhaps mocking the idea as well as sharing a great tune. There is a great deal of controversy over what the song means. Some claim it represents heroine, others say it refers to homo-erotocism, and a bevy of other theories. I won’t even pretend to know what was meant by the song, but for me it is one more brilliant contribution from the Beatles both musically and philosophically.
The Beatles – Happiness is a Warm Gun
It seems to me that we are so busy worrying about “happiness” and attaining it that perhaps we are missing the point all together. With that said, I want to know what “happiness,” the word or idea mean to you? Are you happy? Do you care? Either way, feel free to share your thoughts, I look forward to exploring this further and maybe even learning something about myself in the process. Have a “happy” day.
Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm