The acceptance of happiness is as elusive as it is vast. It is one and many things….when one marries, lands a good job or seeks pleasure…It is all in the quest for happiness. ln folk tales, it dominates the terrain too and no folk tale ends without the branded..They lived happily ever after!!!
Remarkably, everyone appears to be in search of it. And yet, seldom obtain it…It is the proverbial shadow which one never overtakes…and pursues relentlessly.
Happiness!! But what is it?
What then is happiness? A good number of opinions converge on mood, attitudes, goals and yearnings accomplished or sought after and a general spectrum of the mind than material acquisitions, yet the reverse is believed to be the case. It is a principle of life rather than a fact of life. In philosophy, the euphemist school of thought has happiness as its overriding objective…whereas the utilitarian school emphasizes usefulness. Even in religion, heaven sums up all that can be wished and hoped for.
This is why the good and the happy are inextricably bonded. Happiness therefore serves as a principle of yearning, of hope, of desired relationships, and of self image.
Are you happy? We can therefore go to elicit many things. It can mean are you contented? Or are you self fulfilled? …etc. Or do you have peace unencumbered by strife, by want, by the bidding’s of ostentatious living? As is inexorably the case in many places where folks are bugged down by irrelevancies and inadequacies.
The Greekian mythology depicted a world of euphoria and thrill promised by the sirens in Odyssey who was only restrained from joining them because he was tied to the mast of their ship. Some go in search of happiness in the kicks obtained by taking chemical substances. After such elation, follows the misery of normalcy…explaining the need for repeated fixes of cocaine or lsd which now manifests as pain, pain of the craving. This is why it evokes the lowest part of you…the sensual, the beastial, and the degraded.
The other aspect is that the bid to find, keep, conserve happiness has been found to be futile.
Vanity upon vanity said King Solomon a man so greatly blessed so unsurpassedly doted by God. ln short, happiness remains the primary motive and drive in life…whatever it is taken to be, hence the degree of accomplishment of ones aspirations tend to serve as an index to the level of one’s happiness. But what is success? Wealth?, Kingship?, Self aggrandizement?
This is the paradox of life that we strive for that which don’t count essentially hence all the frustrations of life.
Take for instance, the lottery winner the novelty, the euphoria soon wears off…and the vicissitudes of life goes on…deaths, accidents, unrequested love, cancer etc.
The novelty dissolves into normalcy and the thrill is gone in a question of days, weeks, months. Heightened by the stress of dreaded failure none wants to fall…this explains why suicides are seemingly more amongst the rich and celebrated. The search goes on! For what?…happiness!!!
On the other hand, the despised poor seem to be happier in comparative terms…as seen in Silas Manner an English novel. This rich Jew was plagued by the fear losing his bag of gold which he did eventually only then did he find the real joy of life when a baby girl strayed into his home an orphan who became his reason to live genuine happiness was his at length, after he lost his fortunes.
Even amongst the Buddhists, the key to happiness is the drastic reduction of one’s desires and wants and not their increase and indulgence in all of them. The later attitude seems to be evident in our world today.
Great wealth comes with great worries…great depression. Happiness is one thing money can’t buy. Remarkably, Nigeria a third world country with all her crippling inadequacies is said to harbour the happiest people in the world. Why and how.
In Japan, with all her sophistication and wealth, suicides escalate the more. The hara kiri culture meant killing one self for failure…rather than weathering the storm and picking up the shreds of one’s shattered life. Hence, personal felicity seems to be opposed to material wealth.
Attainment of peace of mind? Consistent with wordlessness? (l stop to reflect).