The Pursuit of Happiness | Better than HappinesssteemCreated with Sketch.

in #life5 years ago (edited)



Today I want to write about something that applies to almost everyone on Earth, and that is The Pursuit of Happiness.

People are known to find happiness in different ways - some people acquire possessions, other people focus on relationships, and still others like to focus on health. There are also those who experience happiness through the giving of themselves, or by helping those in need.

I am familiar with each one of these sources of happiness, and I have experienced sourcing happiness from all of them. But over time, as I aged and continued to pursue happiness, I realized that the pursuit of happiness can sometimes lead toward unneeded suffering.


I think the unneeded suffering that I am referring to, is caused when we create happiness in ways that simultaneously cause suffering (for others or ourselves), and I also think that over the long-run, this is what happens when people make happiness their ultimate objective - they create an equal, or even greater amount of suffering.

In order to ensure that our Happiness is not causing ourselves and/or others to suffer, I recommend making the prevention, reduction and long-term elimination of suffering our first priority, not happiness.

The prevention, reduction and elimination of suffering makes the happiness we experience, more enjoyable, healthier and sustainable.

~ @chrisrice

To live a long & healthy life w/my wife, son and loved ones, and to help others do the same.

~ @chrisrice

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You can be happy without it making someone or something sad.

Thank you for replying @fredkese and just to let you know, I am still open-minded about this.

  • What are some of the things that give you happiness?

Food, music, somebody to talk to

I changed my original post after discussing this with you @fredkese and others.

Let me know what you think 😊👍

I absolutely agree


Have to say I don't agree I think everyone can be happy at once. We manifest our own happiness and need to see it and trust it will happen. I we think this will take from someone else it will, we control out reality 💯🐒

Thank you @vibeof100monkeys for replying to my post.

Which of the following seems most true to you @vibeof100monkeys:

1. There is more hardship on earth than happiness.

2. There is more happiness on earth than hardship.

3. There is an equal amount of happiness and hardship on earth.

This might help us have a good discussion 😊

I don't know which one to be honest. It depends on your perception if you are happy currently you see more happiness in the world. To me it's all about perception and what you manifest at any moment in time. I am happy so more happiness 💯🐒

Based on my personal experience I think life seems to balance things towards the center. So if there is a lot of happiness I tend to believe it will be offset with some sort of hardship. This is based on my experience of enjoying a lot of happiness, and ultimately seeing it get balanced out toward the middle. @vibeof100monkeys

Well said! I have had my periods of intense unhappiness and have found my way through. I agree there is always a balance but if one is happy this does not take happiness away form someone else. I think all can be happy in this world at the same time through the collective consciousness. But of course moments of sadness will always occur thats emotion, but talking about overall happiness is difference in my book. It's kind of like the hundredth monkey theory I also think there is a pivotal point in which happiness will overbalance and this will change the world. In my lifetime maybe not but I really hope so

Do you think there is a difference between:

  • Happiness


  • 'The Pursuit of Happiness' ???

Yes I think too many people are constantly looking for happiness when its in us all the time, it a mind set and how we treat ourselves. If your mind set is a positive one then you manifest happiness 💯🐒

With your help, I refined my ideas, added clarity and edited my original post.

Let me know if you like the new version of my original post @vibeof100monkeys.

Happiness a zero sum game? No way! Strive for win-win solutions in life. I agree that zero-sum games do exist, but reducing the creation of happiness to one is someone's agenda to make people miserable for some ulterior motive.

Thanks for commenting @yawnguy.

Can you share some of the Zero Sum Games that you think exist and then differentiate it from happiness?

I'd love to read that 😊👍

Let's see. What immediately comes to mind for zero-sum games are financial ones involving a party and a counterparty. I could look some up, but you could do that too. I scanned over the Wikipedia article, but like most there it's written for college grad-level people who are already experts in that field, i.e. useless for almost everyone else.

Happiness examples? That's far easier. Your small child is unhappy and it tends to lower your tone too (= lose-lose). So you quickly shift his attention onto something better, he cheers up and you feel better too (= win-win).

On a solo basis you're out walking and unexpectedly hear birds singing beautifully. Instant smiles. Did some living entity slip down some cosmic scale a point or two to balance out your uptick? Well, not observably, although if you are determined to maintain this zero-sum agenda then it's impossible to prove someone in the universe didn't suffer.

I don't have an agenda @yawnguy aside from expressing myself and understanding life more. My perceptions and ideas are also not set in stone.

Here is another question that might help our discussion.

  • If we created a scale with extreme hardship and suffering on the left, and extreme happiness and pleasure on the right, where on the scale do you think is most ideal?

Fair enough. Most ideal for whom? Some chronically-unhappy people seem to love to wallow in their misery, and would be quite put out to experience genuine joy. Others, who chronically live life on a high-scale basis, finding joy and beauty in almost anything, will shrug off momentary down periods.

But that's only on a personal basis. Which of the two is more useful to society? The miserable wretch who requires help from others or the extrovert who builds great things [I'm not talking about sociopathic politicians]?

I tend to think closer to neutral between Pleasure & Displeasure is the most stable and healthy realm to exist in @yawnguy.

I have experienced a little hardship, and I have also experienced high amounts of pleasure (especially from helping others) but I noticed that there was a cost to myself and others in both.

When happiness for oneself and happiness for others is the first priority for a person, suffering will accompany that happiness. That is because happiness is their first priority, not the prevention, reduction and elimination of suffering.

On the otherhand, focusing on the prevention, reduction and elimination of suffering in and of itself, will make life more comfortable and easy, even if it's not flooded with super amounts of happiness.

I think The Pursuit of Happiness is a misguided attempt at making life comfortable and easy. It has it's perks but I can see now that focusing on what I mentioned is superior.

Thank you @yawnguy.

I am not sure about this but I think Western societies and maybe all modern societies in general, focus more on the pursuit of happiness and less on the prevention, reduction and elimination of suffering.

It might even be an epidemic.

P.S. I will see about making edits to my original post.

Personally, happiness is pretty irrelevant. I strive to get a result with something in the real world, not to tweak my feelings to feel a certain way. It's like my stress-release work: the real purpose is to discharge the harmful energy out of a hot topic, and the fact that one also often feels amazingly calm and peaceful for minutes or hours is purely incidental, although far more visible.

Yeah, the pursuit of happiness as an end in itself is very wrong-headed.

Do you think Western societies in general gravitate to much towards the pursuit of happiness and not enough towards the prevention, reduction and elimination of suffering? @yawnguy

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