What is happiness? (Part 3)

So our definition of happiness is building. It is the result of things that are external to us, like our surroundings. It is also the result of the choices we make as members of various communities. It can come from simple things like seeing a baby smile, but also from complex concepts, like justice.

Defining happiness might be the first step toward understanding it. But it might even be an unnecessary one. As my mother-in-law continued her e-mail, she told the story of my brother-in-law, Ben, when he was 2:

“When Ben was 2 or 2 and a half…somewhere in that age range… we asked him why he was always so happy. He considered the question carefully and said ‘I just decided to be because it feels better.’

“Allan [my father-in-law] and I remember that because he said it at a time of our lives when we were so incredibly busy that we didn’t stop to think about topics such as our happiness. When he said that I realized that I was very happy and that part of it was the fact that I was so busy and involved and felt that I was contributing.”


About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
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1 Response to What is happiness? (Part 3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    There is a thread of philosophical thought which asserts that we spend most of our time unconscious, running on autopilot and recording memories. According to this view we are only truly conscious during those brief moments from time to time when we pause to reflect. If this is true, and if most of us, most of the time, are truly happy, then it seems worth while to pause and reflect on this frequently, so that we can maximize the number of happy conscious moments in our finite lives. Perhaps this article is a reminder to do this.

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