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Monday, May 24, 2010

Happiness is a Commodity

"It (The mirror of Erised) shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, more desperate desire of our hearts… However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge nor truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible…It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that…”

"And the Dog with the Bone saw the other dog with the Bone(its reflection) in the pool and barked, and the bone it had in is mouth fell into the water and was lost."

The above 2 quotes from very famous stories tell us that Happiness is a relative concept. We feel happy when we have even 1 more than our closest competitor, we feel happy when we have more than people around us, we feel happy when people applaud us and pat us on our backs for things well done, we feel happy when we dont have the troubles the other person has and so on and so forth.

One thing to notice is that there is always "another" person involved related to which we measure our happiness. There is this inherent mechanism built into us which always makes us happy only when we judge ourselves against others. The same judgment makes us sad, angry, motivated and a plethora of other feelings which may be good or bad.

Why is it there? Why cannot we set our own goals and motivations rather than always judge ourselves against some one? Why cannot we be happy because we achieved something we just wanted to achieve irrespective of whether others have achieved more than us or not.

Why cannot we be happy because of who we are and where we stand in the Universal Hierarchy of Happy Men? Why is it that we need a reason to be happy?

Another interesting aspect is that what is Happy for one person is Anger, Jealousy, Envy for another. We are never happy to see other people happy. We may have a fake smile on our faces but plunging daggers into the happy person in our hearts. Why cannot we be genuinely happy for the person? Isnt it because we judge our happiness against others?

Is happiness a commodity? Of which there is a finite quantity? So that if one person has some of it, there will be less or none available for us? Is it necessary to steal happiness? Cannot we create it and share it?

I have seen many examples/incidents where a person is happy for a small achievement, almost superfluous for some, and he/she being rudely told that "Its nothing. Its not something to be happy about". What right do others have of telling us when we should or should not be happy? Why cannot people let others enjoy their happiness, however big or small it might be?

As always, I have more question than answers.

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