Hey guys! Yup, i’m still kicking. Not that I owe anybody an explanation for my lack of posting, nor do any of you probably care, but I have been super busy figuring myself out lately, and I’m happy to report that I believe I’ve made substantial progress in that regard.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about happiness, and how even the basic definition of the word varies from person to person. For me, happiness is individualism, the rewarding feeling of accomplishment, and independence. I know many others who would define happiness as the complete opposite. That’s what’s fun about it-happiness is completely subjective.
Because of this fact, there is no one way to live a happy life. What uplifts some may frustrate or even hurt others, and it takes a lot of getting to know oneself in order to navigate to the kind of life that will truly make you happy. I think that for someone who has only been here just shy of two decades, I have come to know myself extremely well. Over the span of just a few months, i’ve been really immersing and engaging my mind in the search for truth and knowledge in this life, and also forming my very own, unique belief system about this knowledge. There is so much knowledge out there-so much that I could spend the rest of my life-60+ years, if I’m lucky- studying, and still not even make a dent in the copious knowledge that humankind has obtained to date.
Now, I am no scientist, but I theorize that one of the main causes of unhappiness in this lifetime is depending on the beliefs and behaviors of those who come before us and raise us, and never really take the time to evaluate things on our own. We are social creatures, and have a constant need for acceptance within a group in order to survive, and I think that that kind of inhibits us from exploring our own thoughts and beliefs. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I find it really easy to take new knowledge for its face value. Critical analyzing of the data we intake on a daily basis takes a conscious effort, and as a full-time student and part-time registrar, I don’t exactly have much free time for soul searching.
I have to attribute all of this thinking and over-analyzing to my Intro to Philosophy class. I have a bittersweet relationship to this class. Bitter, because sometimes, ideas are presented that are simply too vast and broad for me to wrap my tiny head around, (ahem, Euthyphro’s Dillema) and sweet, because it raises questions that would never cross my mind otherwise. Real questions. We’re talking questions about morality and what is good and evil, right and wrong. The best thing about this class, though, is that sometimes there is no right answer, and that’s okay.
The most frustrating, yet valuable thing i’ve learned from this class is how truly little we know about anything. It scares me, really, and is truly humbling to realize. However, I find myself wanting to know so much more about what I don’t know, and I think the more we learn, the more we know how much we don’t know. Have I confused the hell out of you yet?
Okay, so i’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent. My point is, since we don’t know anything about anything, it’s up to me as an individual to decide what is true and false in my world, and the only way I am going to become qualified to make those decisions is to learn more.
In summary, belief systems need to be developed on an individual basis, including beliefs on what happiness is. Nobody can tell me that the way I choose to live my life will not bring me happiness, because they are not subject to my individual belief system. So rather than decide whether a person is living in a way that will lead to lasting happiness, I’d like to propose that we all focus on developing our own definitions of the word, and pursue that route.