I stumbled upon the title “Happiness: A History by Darrin McMahon”. And from there upon a review by Roslyn Ross on Good Reads (pdf). Even though she gives five stars and writes “I loved this book”, I will probably never read it because of her quote from the book to show it’s unreadability: “Strong black coffee to clear the head of an evenings wine, his work served as a sobering reminder of the ancient wisdom of the Christian Fall.”
Roslyn Ross continues her review with a brilliant and concise summing up of the different views on happiness. Which I couldn’t help but put in a schema.
“Happiness” is often the answer from people on what the goal of life is. I doubt it. Of course it would be nice to be happy. But to define it as the single goal in life doesn’t make sense to me. There are a lot of things to do that just don’t make you happy. For example make sure you have food and shelter and help the people around you. The shortest way to happiness would be to use drugs and that does not seem to cut it.
Anyways, my view on happiness, following the columns of the schema:
- I can relate to that happiness doen’t exist on this earth. But it doesn’t move me very much. Life can be very tragic, happiness is indeed an ideal. Heaven is not a solution for me; we are talking happiness here and now.
- How to live doesn’t move me very much either. For some people it might be good advice, but it is too limited for me. I want to choose for myself and understand.
- Insight in happiness is mostly my cup of tea. Happiness has to do with desire. If you fulfill your desire you are happy, if your desire is not fulfilled you are not happy. Accept that the world works like that. (More of an Hinduist, Buddhist, Tantra way of looking).