Friday, February 3, 2012

Occupy Happiness

People talk about "wasting time" like it's a bad thing. They talk about "happiness" as if it is something that eludes us. 

John Lennon said, "When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn't understanding the assignment. I told them they didn't understand life." 

Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, said that without a formula for predicting utility, we choose to instead imagine. In a nutshell, we can choose happiness. It is one of the many experiences we can occupy for ourselves. While we're living, choosing, learning from mistakes, and evaluating actions, we can choose to stimulate our sense of happiness every day, which in no way makes life perfect, it just makes life perfectly lived. 

"The best Armour of Old Age is a well spent Life
preceding it; a Life employed in the Pursuit of useful
Knowledge, in honorable Actions and the Practice of 
Virtue; in which he who labors to improve himself from 
his Youth, will in Age reap the happiest Fruits of them; 
not only because these never leave a Man, not even in the 
extreamest Old Age; but because a Conscience bearing 
Witness that our Life was well spent, together with
the Remembrance of past good Actions, yields
an unspeakable Comfort to the soul. 

 - Cicero (106 - 43 BCE)

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