Thursday, January 25, 2007

Today's Ramble - 1/25/07

I apologize to my many readers for the delay in posting to the blog. Today's entry has to do with the falsehood of the pursuit of self-realization. We have heard for the past thirty years, at least, that that is our utmost purpose in life - a self-realized person is a happy person. The search for meaning in our lives is important. But it turns out that the relentless pursuit of self-realization (the "me" generation) has resulted ironically in many individuals with low self-esteem and a sense of being "lost".

Happiness research has shown why this may be so. People need to feel that they exist for something larger than themselves. They need to focus and work on something that provides a common good. Happiness comes from within and without. The two are not in contradiction. It is not one or the other, it is both. Richard Layard boils it all down to a compassion towards oneself and others. What he calls the "Greatest Happiness" is essentially the expression of that ideal. We need each other, not things. Through our relations with others we will attain a higher sense of well-being for ourselves.

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