“In what does happiness consist? Is it the same for all men, or do different men seek different things in the name of happiness? Can happiness be achieved on earth, or only hereafter? And if the pursuit of happiness is not a futile quest, by what means or steps should it be undertaken?”
The above is from the Syntopicon essays from the Great Books that discusses about Happiness. The Syntopicon is great reading and addresses many topics, as well as serves as a guide in the reading of the Great Books of the Western World.
I think everyone will think about this topic of Happiness in this time of the year, the end of the year and the beginning of a new one, and many will work out their new year resolutions. Well, what are new year resolutions if not the pursuit of happiness? We resolve to be happy, in fact, as Pascal said, we can only wish to be happy and cannot wish not to be so. I tremble to think of a person who wishes himself/herself not to be happy.
But what is happiness?
My own perspective is happiness do not come from one big thing or event but is a accumulation of small happy moments and the memory of such happy moments. The funny thing about happiness is that you can still be very happy although you are suffering physically.
So what are these happy moments? In Lin Yutang tradition, I will consider the following things that makes me happy:
1. To be in the company of family members that loves you and cares for you, even if they sometimes abhors you or nags you. That’s because they love you.
2. To be in the company of good and talented friends that thinks of you and cares for you and find you to be a good and talented friend too. Friends that takes interests in what you do (e.g. commenting on your Facebook status.. heh heh), asks you out and sends you messages and greetings (or gossips…).
3. To perform one’s job professionally, to be held in high regards by your employers, employees, colleagues, customers, suppliers and competitors.
4. To enjoy good health, not only yourself but your family and friends too because without them, what are you going to do?
5. To be able to have leisurely time and money to do what one fancy, e.g. to be able to have time and money to indulge in one’s hobby (e.g. play Go and watch movies) or to go for holiday trips.
6. To be able to live in a peaceful environment, in a good and pleasant house with a good car and have a peaceful job.
7. To be able to be financially free and not a slave to money.
8. To be able to die peacefully and without much pain.
Well, simple ain’t it? For me, at least for now, paradise in on Earth and I don’t expect to go to heaven, although I may go to hell, if hell exists ;-)
So with this, Happy New Year 2009!!