PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

WRITTEN BY DS

Do you enjoy reading Sumiko Tan’s column? I do, and always look forward to her articles on her life. After all, how many people would tell you their ‘secret’ thoughts, true feelings and vulnerabilities? I have been thinking of blogging on her articles for some time, and this one is a little late, but I hope to be able to keep up.

Sumiko’s June 15 column is on the topic of happiness. A lot of things we do in life is actually for the pursuit of happiness, although we may not realise it. For example, we yearn to be rich or richer, but actually we just want to be happier. Or we may want to take a holiday in a faraway land, but it’s actually just to be happier.

Can we be truly happy? I think not. We can be happy usually only for a short while. Say you get to eat the very best food you have been dreaming of for a long time and are on cloud nine about it. How long can that last? I agree with what Sumiko wrote about some scientists believing that everyone has a certain innate level of happiness to which he will invariably return to. Some people are just born with ‘happier’ genes and do not deviate much from their usual ‘happy’ states. These are the people that are very bubbly all the time and life seems so good to them. So, I think it is futile to pursue happiness. Bear in mind though, that the opposite of happiness is not just sadness. I think a more realistic state for us to aim for is neutrality.

Have you ever walk into a food court and feel like ordering something very special and can’t find anything worth eating? Yet on another day, you walk into the same food court and because you just wanted to order something ordinary that day, you end up with lots of good choices to pick (at least in the mind)? This is the point I think. Not being sad is already very good, so why get depressed over not having happiness? Pursuing happiness, just like aiming for special food versus ordinary food, will makes us feeling less happy at the end. In essense, be happy with a ‘not bad’ state. Neutrality is happiness enough. Cheers.

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