So if you've read this blog a bit you know that by acting on my ideas, I now feel a sense of accomplishment. A sense of having honored my ideas and myself. My ideas now have credibility with me and have the chance to be included in public discourse and, inevitably, be available for critical analysis.
Meaning that people may not like them very much.
All that is pretty good. And what I was planning for when I set out on this journey with Quixoting.
So why do I not feel a powerful sense of happiness about my efforts to date? Because I still have a long way to go? Is it that I will never be happy with what I've done? Kind of a perfectionist?
What does happiness mean anyway? Is it the same as joy? Is one temporary and one long-term?
Well, to give this a little bit of sense, I've been keeping track of popular references to happiness and now thought I'd summarize it here.
Am I covering the scope of the world's philosophy? Of course not. But I will, I hope, begin to crack the code. For myself. And perhaps you'd like to chime in . . .
So how does dictionary.com define happiness?
|1.||the quality or state of being happy.|
|2.||good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.|
1, 2. pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness, delight, enjoyment, satisfaction. Happiness, bliss, contentment, felicity imply an active or passive state of pleasure or pleasurable satisfaction.Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good: the happiness of visiting one's family. Bliss is unalloyed happiness or supreme delight: the bliss of perfect companionship. Contentment is a peaceful kind of happiness in which one rests without desires, even though every wish may not have been gratified: contentment in one's surroundings. Felicity is a formal word for happiness of an especially fortunate or intense kind: to wish a young couple felicity in life.
There are many other ways to define happiness:
Happiness = The Anticipation Of Pleasure.
This one worked for me for a while. Basically, fill your life with interesting things and you feel good knowing that fun things are on the way. But what if you only enjoy the anticipation and the actual happiness of the event is fleeting? I wrote something quick on this a few weeks back . . .
Happiness = the anticipation of pleasure
I get pleasure from productive creative time
Productive creative time delivers a tangible idea
That tangible idea is made up of my mental DNA
Mental DNA includes me plus all that I experience
Experience gives thoughts relevance
Being relevant makes me happy
Happiness = The Absence Of Pain
The tough thing here is that pain is multi-dimensional and includes sadness, physical pain, stress, discomfort and the like. How can we ever be absent of all that at one time? I have had moments of complete mental freedom and those do feel good. I remember one particular time in Yakima, Washington. It was winter, cold and snowing. I was sitting my garage with the big door open, watching big snowflakes fall on the driveway. Me in a beach chair drinking a cold beer. And I had one - a moment of nothingness. Bliss.
Happiness - Absence Of Knowledge Or a State Of Ignorance
Think of newborns (except when hungry/soiled, of course). Think of Thumper in Bambi. Sid from Ice Age or Donkey from Shrek. Is that a fair characterization of their reason to be happy? How does one become ignorant and does it really work? Are shut-ins happy? Hermits?
Happiness = A Life Full Of DistractionI guess you could argue this is similar to or related to "anticipation", but this one came from a recent interview on NPR. They were interviewing Woody Allen and asked him about happiness. His view was that there will always be pain and discomfort. Life will always be hard in some way. But through filling your life with events and people who keep you busy, you pay less attention to the tough stuff.
Why this focus and why today? In the middle of feeling the freedom from acting on my ideas, why focus on this?
Well, I find it interesting. Always have. While I did not major in philosophy, I always loved the idea that someday I would. And I think that we as thinking creatures should always ponder life in this way.
I'm not the ignorant type. Although I'm attracted to their characters in movies.
And, don't get me wrong. I love what I am doing here at Quixoting and with Tim's Strategy. But taking action on your ideas does not drop you into a nirvana swimming pool. There will be frustrations and obstacles.
And having thought of them I feel better prepared to battle them.
In conclusion, I'll share a great poem by Carl Sandburg. I wrote out this poem and had it on my wall . . . in High School.
I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an