Monday, January 08, 2007

Today's Ramble - 1/8/07

The temporal component of happiness is a struggle for many of us. Eastern philosophy espouses an emphasis on the here and now - our immediate experiences brings us happiness. This is much easier said than done. Many look to the future for their happiness. This, as it turns out, is ineffective as we end up being way off base in terms of how future experiences will affect our happiness (see Daniel Gilbert link on this blog). Living in the past is equally "dangerous" to our well-being as sentimentality can limit the positive impacts that our current and future experiences have on us. Many of us find ourselves in a void - a place where we relive happy experiences of our past while, at the same time, wish that our futures will bring us the happiness that we crave. The void seems to travel with us through time - we never seem to get to where we want to be. Great thinkers have often written about this. Here are two of my favorites.

1) "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" - Dr. Suess. The power of this simple phrase is quite extraordinary. It speaks a simple truth about happiness. Yet, truly taking heed to what it says is very difficult indeed.

2) "The man is freed from servile hands of hope to rise or fear to fall, Lord of himself, though not of lands, and having nothing yet hath all" - Sir Henry Wotton. Life without hope is full of despair. Yet a life where hope drives our well-being is destined to be unhappy.

Next time, more on hope...

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