Happiness: the Greek philosophers believed that the goal of human existence was this nebulous thing called ‘happiness’. By happiness they didn’t mean head-over-heels pee-in-your-pants hilarity, they merely meant a basic status of contentment.
Better to listen to the ancient Greeks on this sort of life philosophy than to listen to contemporary Greeks on economic philosophy, I might add.
Now, obligingly, some kind soul posted on Facebook (the place whence I find much of my wisdom) this morning a little screed that listed 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy.
Damn, another one of those sacrifice demands that tend to sap the pleasure from life. You know, give up smoking, give up drinking, give up salt, give up fatty foods, give up lust and its consequent sexual extracurricularity, give up political assassination. The list goes on and on.
But, I’m an obliging fellow. Added to which, I like the idea of finding complete happiness. So, I shall list the 15 here and see how I would do. You might wish to do likewise.
- Give up your need to always be right: But, what if I am right and the other bozos are wrong? What progress would we have made throughout history if we’d granted concessions to the wrong-headed?
- Give up your need for control: Never been a control-freak so this one isn’t too difficult. I’ve been wrong too often to fret about this too much. Wonder how many points this gets me.
- Give up on blame: Little percentage in this one. My parents are dead so there’s little point in indicting them any longer. My former wives ultimately became people I am quite proud to know. As for the rest of those bastards, they just don’t care.
- Give up self- defeating self-talk: But I’m a master at this. Why forsake something that I have honed down to a science? Mine enemy is generally mine-self. Hmm, something wrong here. This might be the sort of thing they’re talking about.
- Give up your limiting beliefs: You mean, I can’t be bigoted and prejudiced in my own limiting way? That cuts down badly on rant potential.
- Give up complaining: I only complain when things just aren’t right.
- Give up the luxury of criticism: Well, criticism is a luxury and I won’t find it easy to forsake a luxury. I don’t hanker after a Rolex or Astin Martin, but I do hanker after indicting all that is wrong.
- Give up your need to impress others: Well, what’s the point of having an ego if it’s not to impress others? Is it worse to be ‘other’ impressed or self-impressed? Weren’t you impressed by that bit of wisdom? I have a need to know.
- Give up your resistance to change: “If nothing changes then nothing changes,” said a particular wise-guy. I agree, but it doesn’t mean I won’t resist.
- Give up labels: Which labels. Clothing labels? Grocery labels? Automotive labels? OK, I can give up labels and go generic. It’s cheaper, anyway.
- Give up on your fears: I don’t know. I’m kind of scared to go in that direction. And fears of being run over by a semi or falling from a great height have a certain survival validity. Now, nameless fears, or fears of failure. That’s a different thing. Don’t do well in that department.
- Give up your excuses: My excuses are finely-honed and have involved a lifetime of philosophical effort. I’ll have to find an excuse for giving up my excuses.
- Give up the past: Ah, my legacy; my heritage. In fact, I’ll quibble with his one. It is in remembering some of the negatives of my past that I am able to keep positive for the present. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
- Give up attachment: Sorry Wendy, it’s been a good trip but it’s time to move on. Is that what they mean? I’m bemused and confused.
- Give up living your life to other people’s expectations: Well, if I didn’t give a shit this one would not matter. But, because I do, or because there are some rewards in living up to other’s expectations that may improve one’s life, this caveat is a bit whack. I mean, if I hadn’t lived up to my parents’ expectations then I wouldn’t have bothered going to school.
So, how did I do? I think I failed royally. Do I care? No. Why should I live up to the expectations of the people who devised this?