A Personal Affair -
the Pursuit of Happiness
"... Which seems to me to highlight one of the internal contradictions common
to us all. One of our fondest wishes, deepest desires, is the desire for
happiness. It is right there in the American trinity, "Life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness." Call it what you will, call it peace of mind, general
sense of well-being, contentment with life, feeling great, we all want it. Not
one of us wants to live out our days in misery. Nothing wrong with that.
But at the same time we resist with all our might the age-old truth about
happiness, the truth that it cannot be found in a new bicycle, a wrist watch, or
one hundred dollars, or a hundred million. Material things do not buy happiness.
Seneca, a Roman philosopher and contemporary of Jesus said, "Our forefathers
lived every jot as well as we, when they provided and dressed their own meat
with their own hands, lodged upon the ground and were not as yet come to the
vanity of gold and gems... which may serve to show us, that it is the mind, and
not the sum that makes any person rich... No one can be poor that has enough,
nor rich that covets more than he has."
Dr. David Myers, research psychologist at Hope College, Holland, Michigan has
just published a fascinating study entitled, what else, The Pursuit of
Happiness. One of the conclusions of the study - except for the very bottom of
the ladder, the truly destitute, there is simply no correlation between wealth