Saturday, February 7, 2009

Highway to happiness is littered with theories

The highway to happiness has many alleys. Kids in college, happiness was simple — cut an album, tour the world, cut another album. All we had then were our passions, cigarettes we never had the money to buy, a modest collection of cassettes and a track record of having won the first or second prize in all inter-college music festivals.

A decade-and-half later, I find that the same highway to happiness is also littered with theories. From its very definition to methodologies of measuring it, psychologists, biologists, economists are in a highly competitive space out there.

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wordsandvoices said...

Happiness, the word comes from happen + ing. So when things, situations,results etc happen (or we make them happen) as per our desires,pursuits and wishes, we feel happy. This is true for individuals as well as nations. Take for example you ,your barber or even me. When our marriages works, children are doing fine, finances are in place,health is great and work life is satisfying.We are happy! As thing turned out as we wanted them to. As a nation when India beats Pakistan in a cricket match, the entire nation roars happiness.When the Indian economy was robust, sensex headed Northward,the was a general euphoria in the nation.( at least to the urban mass affluent). Farmers, I assume must have been happy with the announcement of the loan waiver. The list can go on and on. However, happiness should not be the final destination. Because, if we as individuals and a nation rely on our circumstance ( happenings) for happiness we will soon be heading a downhill path. Happiness is a feeling, and life/ nations run on feelings is not good. So, my view is simple, look beyond happenings. Seek joy! The inner joy which not circumstance can kill. Joy which gives the power to change the circumstance.

Gautam Chikermane said...

I think you're right, wordsandvoices. But then, happiness is such a personal thing and so time-determined -- happiness to A may not mean the same to B; or A's happiness today may not be the same tomorrow -- that it is impossible to generalise. Seeking joy, as you advise looks like a good idea. Then again, some folks find happiness in "seeking happiness", just as some get it through "seeking sadness". No, I'm not mixed up, just a bystander. I know so many people who just go about their lives, simply, humbly and are happy. I know an equal number of people who do "important" things, are wealthy and happy. (In fact, there are very few sad people I know.)
Having said that, the joy you hint at is probably inner joy, that is, the ability to be happy with yourself. A lot of spiritual gurus talk about that, so I suppose you're bang on.