It is a great day to kick off the series of ideas with one of the most popular concepts, happiness.
Lifestyle 1: Discipline and meaning are what matter; happiness is selfish.
Lifestyle 2: There is no meaning to life; happiness is the ultimate goal.
Rebuttal: The first side is closely tied to control, as the person that doesn’t care about happiness often exerts their pessimism and discipline on others – discipline rarely applies only to the host. Therefore, the world becomes a considerably more miserable place than it has to be.
For the second side, any good thing in excess is no longer a good thing. Self-indulgence as a lifestyle has considerable ramifications: obesity, disease/unplanned pregnancy, loss of autonomy. Extremism is counterproductive to well-being.
Happiness is not something to try to grab onto; it is a side effect of health and an amalgamation of certain moments and feelings.
Growth is uncomfortable. Happiness should not be a goal. In the form of fleeting pleasures, happiness is not a sustainable state. A lot of what we consider pleasure are the things we use to try to allay greater problems.
Health and understanding take the damage out of happiness. Health isn’t in chasing or in controlling.
CGP Grey’s metaphor: Happiness is a bird that comes and lands on your boat from time to time. You cannot force a bird to land. All you can do is make improvements to your ship and sail to warmer waters. You’re not trying to chase down a destination; rather, improve your boat and move toward the conditions that make happiness possible.
On reducing damage, we have to (1) examine childhood [What feels normal to you? Is it affecting others? Is it sustainable?], (2) examine the habits you’ve kept in adulthood, and (3) understand your personality. What things do you do or think daily that impede focus and peace?
It is up to you to understand what is good for you and to choose what is sustainable and enjoyable. It is up to you to delineate between fact and fiction, so as to not harm. Everyone has to find his own way independently, and every man has to care about his own health for himself and his community.
In the Harvard Study of Adult Development, researchers found that happiness depends on our relationships with others, especially those we live with. All other factors matter considerably less.
Krishnamurti has said, “We believe happiness is something to seek, because we seek everything else. Happiness cannot be found. It is a byproduct and occurs in the absence of fear. Life is in the moments when we are lost in a task or feel part of the environment around us. To chase happiness is to not be one with its source.
At its root, unhappiness comes from lack of love, or the distance between ourselves and others. The distance is created by our judgements and criticisms. The striver will say, love is just a dream, I must get on in the world. But love is the most practical thing in the world. Intelligence is in recognizing that ultimately love is the only thing that matters.”
This philosophy coincides with the data: Our happiness lies in having healthy relationships with others. So we must be healthy ourselves. Health affects sustainability and reduces damage. Happiness visits us most often when we are living in harmony with others and our interests.