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Saturday, February 21, 2004

Is happiness to be gained ? - Part 1

In this world of burgers and fries, we seem to be busy in our own way all the time. To stop and muse over what we need to eat seems to be a luxury. A moment to think about the music that we love seems to be too long. We stuff ourselves with lowly food, the quality of which we do not question, because our precious time could be used for work. We do not care for the music that we listen because the music is just a companion to keep ourselves awake as we drive. A conversation with business tycoon by an employee:
E : Sir, the coffee has come T : Sorry I am busy E : Sir, the charity people are waiting outside T : Sorry I am busy E : Sir, your daughter needs to be picked up by you T : Sorry I am busy E : Sir, you need to.. T : Sorry I am busy !!!! E : (frustrated)Sir, are you sorry that you are busy ?
The continuous performance of action seems to be our goal of life. We think, unless we act a lot we cannot enjoy life. The reason we work more is because we think that, the more we work, more we can earn and more money we make, happier we can be. How pathetic it is, not to realize that this is a vicious cycle! This stems from the notion that higher the bank balance, more balanced the life will be. It seems that increasing the bank balance is the goal of life. Sometimes it also appears that supporting the family is the goal of life. By this, I think I am happy.

But when we ask the people, "hey are you happy?", nobody answers, "Yes. I am". There are people who are happy in spite of nil bank balance and many rich people have a lot of wealth, but still are unhappy. In fact, Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries, ranks highest in the happiness index ! Most of the rich people take pills for sleep. In many of the western countries, people are not as peaceful as we think they are. By this, we do not mean to belittle money, its importance or its function in our lives. If so, what is the index or scale of happiness?
I am trying to understand if there can be a system, an idea or any way of life by which I stop searching for happiness from the external sources. This is a logical question that anybody would like to ask. Also, what exactly do I want to gain in my life? I have no immediate answer for these questions. But if I am asked if I want to be happy, I do not deny. I say "yes" immediately. Even sadists and masochists try to find happiness in the acts they perform. Thus, everybody has their own problems associated with their idea of happiness. The source of happiness is different for everyone. What makes one happy need not make the other (happy). A simple example is the pleasure that a smoker derives out of cigarette and the suffocation that the non-smoker endures in his presence. The questions that we face are :
Is happiness an object on the earth ? (2) Is it an experience to be gained ? (3) What exactly do we mean by happiness ?
A thorough analysis of these questions is necessary.
A sugar crystal is sweet. It is sweet independent of where it is, who tastes it and when it is consumed. Hence we conclude that ?Sweetness is the nature of sugar. It can never give up its nature. Can I find an object which has the nature, happiness ? No.
Suppose a hungry person is offered a glass of sweet milk. He drinks a couple of glasses with glee. He is offered a third glass and he takes it with a grin. Fourth glass appeases his hunger completely and when the fifth glass is emptied by him, his tummy is stuffed. "Another glass ?", he hesitates but accepts for the sake of being a good guest but one more when offered, he strongly resents and says "I cannot have any more". So, the same glass of milk which originally was the source of happiness became unacceptable later. We can similarly analyze every situation and can conclude that there is not a single object in this universe, the eternal nature of which is happiness.

So how to address this problem ? To be contd..