Daily Archives: September 29, 2011
By Dick Sutphen
Dick teaches hypnosis certification training for the International Metaphysical University.
In conducting seminars, I often ask people what they want in life. The most common response is, “I just want to be happy.”
Here’s what British Philosopher A. C. Grayling has to say on the subject in his book, “The Meaning of Things”: “It has wisely been said that the search for happiness is one of the main sources of unhappiness in the world. Yet most people, if asked, would claim that happiness is the goal of life, and many would also claim that it justifies whatever choices bring it about. Is this really so? The questions ‘Is happiness the appropriate goal of life?’ and ‘Is it true that happiness justifies the means to its attainment?’ are connected, for if the answer to the first is ‘Yes,’ then so is the answer to the second. Yet it is clear that the answer to the second is ‘No’: the fact that a serial killer is made happy by murdering people is not justification for his doing it.”
Grayling goes on to suggest that if happiness could result from pouring a happiness-inducing chemical into the world’s water supplies, we would not notice when things stopped working efficiently. We would not care about disasters or anything else. We would simply smile our way through life.
This idea does not work. Happiness by itself would be a passive condition that would undermine things we value more. Constant happiness would undermine advancement, striving, improving, growing, inventing and discovering … although happiness will likely result from such endeavors.
Happiness appears to be a side-effect of pursuing our goals. And according to Grayling, “… the attendant happiness, when it comes, is a sign that they are being reached.” He finishes his short discourse on happiness by saying, “The question of happiness is sometimes dramatized in the form of a question: ‘Which would you rather be; an unhappy Socrates, or a happy pig?’ Of course one would rather be a happy Socrates; but the point is that to have one’s autonomy of mind, to be aware of the world, and to make one’s own choices, is better by far than being passively happy at the expense of these things. This is why we — or most of us anyway — object to easy routes to happiness, such as taking it in chemical form; for in that guise it is little different from oblivion.”
Before signing off, I’ll share what Osho has to say on the subject, in the book “The ABC of Enlightenment”: “Always find something to be happy about. Life is short and happiness is very difficult, so don’t miss an opportunity to be happy. Ordinarily we go on doing the opposite; we don’t miss an opportunity to be unhappy.
“To be happy is a great talent. Great intelligence, great awareness, almost genius is needed to be happy. To be unhappy is nothing. Even stupid people are unhappy.
“It is very easy to be unhappy because the whole mind lives through unhappiness. If you remain happy for a long time, the mind starts disappearing, because there is no connection between happiness and the mind. Happiness is of the beyond.”
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“Dick Sutphen’s Metaphysical World” radio show airs on www.contacttalkradio.com 11 AM — 12 Noon (Pacific Time) every Wednesday. (This is one of the most popular show on the CTR network). Listen live on the web or download an archive show. We’re also live on an FM station in Seattle and we’re on satellite. In addition to our regular listeners, thousands have subscribed to have iTunes download the show into their iPods. To visit his page: http://www.contacttalkradio.com/hosts/dicksutphen.htm /
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