This is a re-post from 2006 -
What? Me worry? - Alfred E. Newman
The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness you'll never find it. - C.P. Snow
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. - Albert Camus
Happiness is a warm gun. - Lennon/McCartney
Happiness is finding a 5-dollar bill in the pocket of a pair of old jeans in the back of the closet. - Jimmy Buffet
Happiness is watching turtles lay eggs on a sunny, sandy riverbank, with Yellowthroat warblers chattering in the alders. - Bird dog
Happiness is curling up in bed with a good book and a glass of good wine and a good hubbie on Sunday night at 9 pm. - Dr. Bliss
Happiness is a perfect dove-tailed joint - yeah. - Roger de Hauteville
Happiness is finding a rabbit to chase in the yard, when you least expect it. - Gwynnie the Yorkie
I don't pursue happiness - happiness pursues me. - The Barrister
Last week, Yahoo News reported this from Britain:
LONDON (AFP) - Some 2,000 pupils at English state schools are to have special classes in happiness under a pilot scheme aimed at cutting depression, self-harm and anti-social behaviour.
"Schoolchildren will take self-esteem classes to raise standards and cut crime," according to the Independent on Sunday newspaper.
"Lessons in happiness are to be introduced for 11-year-olds in state schools to combat a huge rise in depression, self-harm and anti-social behaviour among young people.
"Special behavioural techniques imported from the US will be used from September next year in an attempt to make children more resilient in the face of the pressures of 21st century living."
Gee - d'ya think 21st Century living is tougher than 20th Century living, or 19th, or 18th, or 8th? Please! Life has never been "easier" or "better" in human history, which is why we can waste time and money on such frivolous and immature subjects.
We have posted on the subject of happiness in the past, in Happiness Traps, and The Economists Take on Happiness. It's a subject I dislike writing about, because it is an undefinable word except as a passing emotion: it is much easier to talk about kinds of unhappiness. However defined, though, there is one thing I know for certain and that is that Happiness cannot be taught in school. It is interesting, however, that Britain has become so secular, and so relatively materially comfortable, that they would even consider that happiness might be something that a government could provide along with all of its other wonderful and efficient "services". It sounds like Kim Sung Il. Which reminds me, we ought to do a summertime re-post of our Valentine's Day Manifesto for the amusement of new readers.
In my opinion, self-respect is more valuable than self-esteem; accomplishment and satisfaction are more important than pleasurable ease; the pursuit of happiness is a scam; giving and receiving love, affection and friendship are the finest and only enduring things in life, and Government cannot replace God or defeat human nature.
Even shrinks will deny that they offer happiness as a product. Freud spoke for all of us that psychiatry can, at the best, offer the hope of replacing neurotic (eg abnormal) unhappiness with normal unhappiness. "Life is difficult," as Scott Peck pointedly begins his wonderful and inspiring The Road Less Traveled. There is no way out of that, other than temporary escapist joys like vacations, a tennis game, a book, or a couple of nice glasses of wine. Well, a tennis game can put you through some heavy stuff, I guess: I am halfway through Ian McEwan's Saturday, which is a sort-of Day in the Life, and the squash game chapter is a minor masterpiece in itself.
Pleasure is easy to pursue - it's like falling off a log. Heroin, I am told, provides excellent self-esteem, well-being, serenity, and happiness, and it is far cheaper, effortless, and far more effective than shrinks, or any other path.
Anyway, some clever Music Man salesman sold the Brits on this thing. My guess is that the kids will take it about as seriously as they take Sex Ed, so they will not be harmed by involuntary government intrusions into their psyches. Hey, teacher - leave us kids alone.
I realize that this is classic blog rambling...I will try to come back to it when I have a little time.