Thursday, September 3, 2009

Overdose on Happiness Talk

A friend gave me the book The Geography of Bliss which follows author Eric Weiner's travels around the globe in search of the happiest societies. I had planned on posting on this blog a series of entries regarding the pursuit of happiness based on my thoughts after reading the book.
That was until yesterday, when I was reading my Kindle (it is an electronic book produced by Amazon that is fabulous) and in addition to being able to access books and magazines, thousands of blogs are featured. As I browsed through the list of blogs I was astounded by how many focused on happiness. It almost sickened me. I decided not to become just another one of those people who purports that happiness can be achieved by doing a, b or c. Each human being is different and it is up to the individual alone to determine their path to happiness. Has our culture turned away from striving for morality (being good people) and turned towards an obsession of seeking pleasure and happiness? There is nothing wrong with striving for joy, but why all the happiness talk?

On my 6th birthday, January 17th 1990, it was the Gulf War and scuds were falling on Israel. I remember coming home from school and seeing my mom listening to news radio in our kitchen. Tears were rolling down her face. At first I was stunned and insulted. How could my mom be crying on my birthday? Today was supposed to be a happy day. Just a moment later I got it. Although my mother has always loved me very much, some world issues/interests are bigger then our individual lives. Personal happiness in a moment must always be met with the understanding that we aren't individuals but members of a community and essential chains in a cultural legacy. Fulfilling our role as human beings in a broader society is just as important as personal fulfillment.

So keep in mind, while the pursuit of happiness is crucial....individual happiness blooms when we contribute to the common good...

My advice for today: feel the pain of another person, and reach out and help them - it will bring more inner happiness then you can imagine.

1 comment:

  1. Your post put things back into perspective for me. It's so easy to become selfishly obsessed with ones self. Your 'advice for today' is golden. Thanks Danielle.