Friday, February 24, 2006

Happiness is like a Fugitive

"If you want to be happy, don’t ever ask yourself if you are. A person in good health in a Western liberal democracy is, in terms of his objective circumstances, one of the most fortunate human beings ever to have walked the surface of the earth... [Early humans] would have regarded our easy, long, riskless lives with incredulous envy. They would have regarded us as so lucky that questions about our state of mind wouldn’t be worth asking. It is a perverse consequence of our fortunate condition that the question of our happiness, or lack of it, presses unhappily hard on us."
- John Lanchester
(From a well-written article discussing two books about the origins, pursuit and nature of happiness as well as many other interesting things.)


Blogger Xander said...

This is an excellent point. It demonstrates that the pursuit of happiness is an empty one. Our conscious minds are survival maximizers. We continually search for threats to our survival even when there aren't any. The key to happiness in being aware of that base desire and channeling that need into productive or even unproductive endevours. Once all are basic needs are met for now and the forseeable future all that is left is mental masturbation. Lest our survival instincts get us into trouble.

7:23 PM  

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