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Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Earlier today, around lunch time, my son and I were both standing next to each other in front of the kitchen counter, silently eating our respective sandwiches, while watching our lone goldfish in his tiny fish bowl.  Between bites of my sandwich, I asked him, “Do you suppose he gets lonely?” “Yeah, he probably does”, he replied.  And we started discussing how no one really pays attention to lonely old “Wally”, yes that is our goldfish’s name.

But then my son said, “Well, actually he probably gets over it pretty fast, I heard somewhere that gold fish have a memory of about three seconds”.  We both laughed, then continued discussing, with such a short memory, could he be depressed or lonely?  Because three seconds later, he would be over it, and on to some other “gold fish thoughts”.  We laughed again.  He then said, “It would be like forgetting where you are, or 480 times a day, the day would seem new, so he wouldn’t get depressed or lonely (1440 minutes per day divided by three= 480).  So after our “deep thoughts” on the life of Wally, we decided he isn’t lonely or depressed.

I suspect that as long as  Wally gets fed, and someone cleans his little bowl out every once in awhile, he  is just happy as a clam in his fishbowl world.

Wally looks pretty happy to me.

So……what do you think?

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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. The fool, in “Intuitions” (written Oct. 1932; published in Youthful Writings, 1976) By Albert Camus

According to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged dictionary, “happiness” is defined as, “The enjoyment of pleasure without pain; felicity, blessedness, or satisfaction.” It would seem that happiness would be relatively easy to acquire, as defined above, however so many people are not happy. Happiness is not just one single thing; it cannot be defined in one statement as given by Webster’s. What is “happiness” to one person could be “hell” to another, so I am not going to attempt to define it, but I do believe that people can obtain it. Happiness is subject to many unseen circumstances, it is also determined by individual perceptions of it, and is believed to be obtained through many avenues such as materialism, money, power, and sometimes (but rarely?) self-reflection.

There are many unseen forces, circumstances and social pressures that we must endure; these are some of the obstacles to our happiness. I believe that most people would agree that there are circumstances “beyond our control” that affect our happiness. I am referring to the most essential mark of human identity which distinguishes us from other animals, the possession of free will and the innate perception of good and evil with the ability to choose between them. The choices that other people make are a crucial and conditional factor in determining our happiness.

There are are also social pressures that we have to deal with that can affect our perception of happiness. This must be a major factor, as society ultimately forms our perception of what is acceptable. Television and media are constantly bombarding us with messages of what is supposed to bring us happiness, and everyone falls into that trap. Our society is abhorrently selfish, wanting more and more things, as we are never happy with what we have. According to the Austrian writer and poet, Baronness Marie Von Eber-Eschenbach, “To be content with little is hard, to be content with much is impossible.”  It is much like a double-edged sword.

The problem with wanting more and never being happy with what we have, could be because our country has always been “rich” compared to the rest of the world. The majority of the people in the U.S. (except for the poorest & homeless?) has never really experienced true poverty, hunger, thirst, or wanted for shelter. Perhaps if we Americans had to live through another depression, it would force us to rethink our priorities and would make it easier for people to be happy. More people could find happiness by trying to live by the words of Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism, “Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, and have few desires.” Of course this is difficult, as our culture and society tells us that more is better and that something is wrong with us if we are not following the pack.

Happiness is determined by individual perceptions of what happiness is. I really believe this to be true. Since we are complex organisms, we possess complex brains, which allows us to think and reason. Maybe the hardest part of obtaining happiness is actually deciding to be happy (this is where the self-reflection comes in). The Roman statesman and and philosopher Seneca, explains it best in the following, “The mind is the master over every kind of fortune: itself acts in both ways, being the cause of its own happiness and misery.”

Happiness is believed to be obtained through many avenues such as materialism, money and power. These are probably the sources of torment and unhappiness for many people. Sure, they can make living easier, but they are not a necessary ingredient to happiness. In fact, in many cases they are the cause of misery (after winning the lottery, people find out that their lives become much worse than before they had all that money).

It is only logical to realize that excessive material possessions are not going to determine your happiness. This is where we trick ourselves into believing that if we only had that certain thing that we think we need, then we would be totally happy.

Happiness can be achieved through self-reflection and people need to realize that it is the craving of more things that keep them from being happy. I leave this one final quote to think about, one of my favorites from a children’s book, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Happiness is something that each of us as an individual can only find within ourselves.

Happiness hand photo: zeenatsyal.files.wordpress.com

Chinese sign for happiness: chinesecomments.com

Happiness sign: shineanthology.wordpress.com/2008/12/

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Mother’s Day actually made me sad this year…..I never thought it would affect me this way.  Of course, most things that affect us, we  believe we are ready for and our expectations of them are waaaaaaay off .  But isn’t that how life is?  We have thought out in our minds how things are supposed to happen, and we also believe that we are capable of handling things that are unexpected or when the inevitable happens, well, we just assume we can deal with it.

Well…..”poof”!  Just like that my little boy was transformed from a sweet little pooh bear, to a young man!  How did that happen!!!  I miss my little “pooh bear”.

Here is a picture of my “baby” after his first swim lesson at the YMCA.     Isn’t he the cutest baby swimmer you have ever seen?  For those of you who don’t know….when teaching a baby how to swim….it is kind of barbaric…..they teach you to blow into their face so they close their eyes (and hopefully close their mouth), then you dunk them under water.   Come to think of it….sounds worse than water-boarding….but that’s a different subject that will need to be discussed at a later time.

16 months old, first swim lesson, getting water out of ears....NOT happy.

Back to my “mother’s lament”.  I felt so bad that day……dunking him into the water….over and over….the poor kid must have thought I was trying to kill him!

Well, eventually he realized we weren’t trying to kill him, and he flourished as a happy, smart, and normal child….as you can see by this picture of him with the turtle he found in our flower garden (while helping mom pull weeds probably).

Fortunately…..he wasn’t traumatized by the swim lessons as a baby…..and turned out to like it! (Maybe he figured he had better adapt to this “water” thing as it wasn’t going away), but anyway….he wanted to be on the swim team in school in Jr. High….and continued on into high school.

Here is a picture of him this last summer…..competing…..

His best event is the “Breaststroke”, and here he is  doing just that………

I’m kind of upset with him as he tells me our pool isn’t big enough….or rather long enough….( he wants an olympic sized pool…..and ours is just doesn’t cut it….spoiled).

Well, he started his first job yesterday…..as a Lifeguard at the high school pool where he swims everyday…..he is driving, working, and hopefully finding out what he will want to do with his life…..while being a sophmore in high school.  I hope and pray he will do something he really loves…..as that is so important in life.  If you don’t like what you do….what is the use?

I miss my little boy….but am proud that he has turned into such a wonderful person!

He has many colleges that are soliciting him for  attendance to their institution…..I keep telling him he has no idea how lucky he is to “decide” which one he wants to go to.  A consolidation for me is that I have raised someone who will hopefully make a difference in the world, and be happy while doing it!

But…..I still miss my little pooh bear.

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“By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more. ”
~Albert Camus

 

As the vote for passing the notorious “health care bill” comes to a close…..it is quite clear that this quote is true, the government, or rather those in charge, do not have a conscience.  The obvious fraud, bribes, and behind the door deals shows the corruption that is alive and well within our government.

I believe the founding fathers are rolling in their graves.

con·science [ kónshənss ] (plural con·sciences)
noun 
 
Definition:
 
1. sense of right and wrong: the sense of what is right and wrong that governs somebody’s thoughts and actions, urging him or her to do right rather than wrong
2. obedience to conscience: behavior according to what your sense of right and wrong tells you is right
3. shared moral viewpoint: a shared concern for moral issues

Works

  • The Stranger; Novel: 1941, 1942, (English 1946)
  • The Myth of Sisyphus; Essay: 1942, (English 1955)
  • The Misunderstanding; 1943
  • Cross Purpose; Play: 1944
  • Caligula; Play: 1944
  • The Plague; Novel: 1947
  • State of Siege; Play: 1948, (English 1958)
  • The Just Assassins; Play: 1950
  • The Rebel; Essay: 1951
  • The Fall; Novel: 1956
  • Exile and the Kingdom; Short Stories: 1957
  • Resistance, Rebellion, and Death; Essays: 1960
  • A Happy Death; Novel: 1971
  • Youthful Writings; Essays: 1973

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