I have been thinking quite a lot on happiness lately. Not just intrinsic happiness, but our cultural perception towards it and the essential conditions that we think is needed to attain and eventually sustain it. And the further I brood on it, there clearly are dangerous areas to be considered and explored in chasing happiness. Let me demonstrate why.
Happiness is a tiny and irritatingly flexible idea that I cannot wrestle with. Every man wants to be happy, even the most enlightened of geniuses(but the irony is, once you are there, you probably can’t). There’s a direct highway for “happiness” to reach every idea that man once thought of or every action that he performed. The search for peace, success, love, power, sex, empathy, satisfaction and as the lists goes beyond the moon, happiness stays as the main reason why would anybody chase for anything.
But even before the chase, have anybody really thought what happiness really is? Happiness is a flexible emotion and state of mind as mentioned and we can all be happy in different ways. Therefore, I do not believe that “happiness” requires an enforced objective understanding. However I do believe that different peaks exist in the idea of happiness, and some peaks are definitely more established than the others. By established, it’s untroubled by the conditions of human experience, a state of complete emotive tranquility and peace(not be be confused with contentment). And that, I audaciously claim after loads of consideration, is authentic happiness.
But happiness understood in modern times has been long substituted by the conditions which we think is needed to sustain it. Which eventually turns into an obsession. By obsessions, I do not mean the latest BMW that’s released in the market or anything material, but instead, the illusionary bridges which is taken to be essential is reaching authentic happiness.
The most erected bridge of all, “Love”.
It’s deliberate example to explain my stance on as love is probably the friendly neighbour of air when it comes to the necessities of survival. There probably isn’t anything more capable than “Love” itself when it comes to ensuing direct happiness. I assure that non of us will ever be happy without the love of anything, whether is it to love, or be loved, from our families, friends, spouses or otherwise.
But here comes the trick and contradiction for some, it’s capabilities and unyielding authority in making love possible still doesn’t knot it as a sine qua non in achieving happiness. I wish not to harp on the propensity of happiness IS a state of emotive tranquility and peace. It’s not a state of nothing, but a state that requires no conditions.
Very directly, happiness is an emotion and love is a condition which vastly allows the possibility of happiness.
Here’s the problem, love is too healthy and rigid a bridge in seeing happiness possible which makes in a obsession. Happiness, like all emotions, by itself is hollow as stated but it’s conditions aren’t. The hollow cannot be chased because it is what it is making us concentrated on the conditions which we think explains and defines the concatenation. And that’s when the chasing of these conditions start, making happiness a morbid duty.
The chase is not a speculation but an affirmation. For books on happiness to be flying off shelves like hot cakes and every flip of magazines to be guiding readers on how to be happy, happiness is surely becoming of a personal conviction rather than an emotion. So when it does, it’s gradually allows it’s real meaning to be substituted by it’s contemporary conditions.
Being blinded, we no longer think of what happiness really is and weigh it’s importance based on the circumstances we are in, we just try to be which is harmful.
To constantly allow the chase of happiness as a natural tendency is to be in a dangerous state of gaiety. To constantly prioritize the conditions which we feel are needed to make us happy before understanding the downside of it. Our focus on happiness may also cause us to be near sighted towards our plans for the future. But most regrettably, our obsession with wanting to be happy may slowly transform into a default liability and does nothing to gratify our everyday life.
Enough of technical and boring words. Here’s an analogous example to concisely convey our battle with happiness right now. It’s said that darkness doesn’t exist by itself, that darkness is merely the absence of light. So similarly I question, is sadness then an absence of happiness? If it is, does it then even tangibly exist at all? And if it isn’t then why are we chasing what we are?
To end this gloomy post, I suspect our communal chase for happiness is back-firing. Our constant pursuance in fulfilling these conditions may be more depressing than we think.