thoughts on happiness

Prince Andrew Bolkonski, in War and Peace, while reflecting on the words of Pierre says

one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy.

and then he continues to say

let the dead bury the dead, but while one has life, one must live and be happy.

I think many of you will agree with either of the statements or both.

I think our greatest goal in life is to be happy.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

43 thoughts on “thoughts on happiness

  1. Hariod Brawn says:

    Happiness is fleeting and of the senses; contentedness is all anyone really seeks for OM, albeit unwittingly. 🙂


    • makagutu says:

      Oh yes, you are right. Is it possible that a contended person is unhappy?


      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Unhappiness implies desire (to escape), or some shade of aversion, does it not OM? And in fact, even in its opposite state, happiness, desire is present too, as we subtly cling to the state and wish that it would endure. No happy person ever thought to themselves ‘I want to get back to normal’.

        Contentedness is utterly desireless by definition. This is not to say that in contentedness one would not have preferences; yet having a preference does not connote any felt emotion of happiness or unhappiness – it really is just a predisposition for this or that.

        Almost everyone disagrees with me on this, believing that happiness is truly what they seek; and yet I maintain it is not – that is merely what they think they seek. And they think that because happiness is a readily identifiable, cognisable emotion.

        There is a difference between what we are doing and what we think we are doing, what we think we think, and what really motivates us. Actually, everyone’s body/mind recognises contentedness and yet it is not a percept, and so is not re-cognisable as an object in mind.


        • makagutu says:

          I have to think hard about this. Interesting perspective

          Liked by 1 person

        • troynbr2 says:

          “Happiness” is a word… a word used to describe an emotion that is experienced individually and cannot be truly communicated. For me peace is happiness… personal peace. No desire to go, no desire to stay. A place of stillness. For some apathy achieves the same emotion. For some, bliss or religious ecstasy.

          Connectedness is but one path and may be the definition you’ve come to use, but no means the only one that may be used for the indefinable private emotional state. If it could be made public easily, then there would be consensus and one religion, one philosophy, and we would be a less contentious species.


          • Hariod Brawn says:

            ‘Connectedness’? Who said anything about that? Not me. Your comment came through on my notification area that you were replying to me; hence this response:

            If, as you say, and as I already asserted in my second comment, happiness is an emotion, then it is transient, and we know it is. Because we know it, we cling to it – in futility. Because we cling to it, it is not contentedness.

            If your ‘peace’ is desireless, as you suggest, then that may be synonymous with contentedness, yet not with happiness. Happiness (as an emotion) may run in its stead at times, yet that change will bring the subtle desire for its continuance. Desire is sometimes pleasurable itself, but it will always have a sense of dissatisfaction intermingled presently within it.

            You are correct, ‘contentedness’ is merely the term that I elect to use for what it is that we all, usually unwittingly, seek by a multitude of means. One might just as well use ‘peace’, or ‘freedom’, or ‘desireless-ness’, but I feel ‘contentedness’ is the most appropriate and unambiguous word.


            • troynbr2 says:

              Mild dyslexia read contentedness as connectedness. Oops!

              Both our points stand… as I’d expect from similar philosophies… happiness is a word, as is contentedness and desirelessness (though probably not proper words), and is a meger attempt to describe an emotion. Neither I nor you can possibly devine someone’s intent (volition) so we cannot know if what they call happiness is filled with desire or not. Being content is a good place to be – the connotations of the word are commonly agreed to be satisfied with an experience as it is – though we cannot know if anyone wants it to continue or not.


            • makagutu says:

              some sage said content is the wealth of nature and I think I contended person is a happy person even if happiness is a transient emotion

              Liked by 1 person

  2. john zande says:

    I think our greatest goal in life is to be happy… while working towards reducing actual suffering.

    You should check out the thread on Allallts post on God


  3. Good quotes. My goal in life is to spend more time with my dog because she makes me happy. 🙂 How is the War And Peace journey coming? Man, that is one LONG book.


  4. Tish Farrell says:

    Here’s to being happy. Cheers!


  5. archaeopteryx1 says:



  6. Yes, we all normally strive to be happy. I doubt life would even be worth living if we couldn’t find avenues of happiness.

    However, sometimes people are so obsessed with the pursuit of happiness, and so averse to dealing with adversity, that they close their minds to the unpleasantness of the real world. I’d rather sacrifice a little of my potential happiness for awareness than to live blissfully in my own fantasies.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. fojap says:

    You sound like my sister.


  8. ladysighs says:

    I think avoiding pain is first desire and that would make for happiness.


  9. koppieop says:

    …..There’s SO little time….. I found this, from an unknown author. It doesn’t rime because I want to interpret it right now. Besides, English is not my mother tongue.

    Give me five minutes, Lord
    For a letter I didn’t write
    That may have left a void
    In some person’s heart

    Give my five minutes
    For the answer I didn’t give
    That may have broken something
    In some person’s heart

    Give me five minutes
    For a laugh, spontaneous and glad
    That allows me to take warmth
    To homes around me.

    Give my five minutes
    For a tear I didn’t let
    And that may have left
    Some person alone with his grief

    Give my five minutes
    For what I haven’t done
    Although you gave me every chance
    Which I have let go..

    Why don’t you give me ten minutes
    And see what I can make of it?
    Oh Lord, give me a whole life
    Minutes are so short..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happiness is flexible. One of the interesting things about happiness is that we can choose to feel happy about something by changing how we think about it. An imagined slight that caused anger can often be resolved in a few words of explanation. The same thing that caused anger a moment ago may cause happiness a moment later.


  11. Ron says:

    I think my greatest goal in life is to remain amongst the living.


  12. vequinox says:

    Reblogged this on vequinox.


  13. […] Πηγή: thoughts on happiness […]


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