ehowton (ehowton) wrote,


"Why are you asking?" I respond to my son. "Because I want to know." He replied. I explain that I knew he wanted to know by way of the question - he would not have asked it otherwise. "I want to know why you wanted to know, for therein lies the purpose of the question; without which there is no reason to ask." There was a time when my son was out of his toddler phase, and as children of that age are wont to do - very inquisitive about a myriad of things - would ask me a litany of ceaseless questions, most of which, when sufficiently answered would be followed up with,"How do you know?"

Comprehending empirical epistemology is not something I would expect from someone that young, not even my own offspring, yet the question merits an answer, even if to a small child its as comforting as, "I just do." Less comforting is that answer from an adult to another adult. Adults first have the cognitive ability of comprehension and secondly are not comforted by such hollow platitudes. When an adult asks of another adult why, "That's just how I feel" is never an acceptable answer. It can't be in order for culture to function, let alone thrive. Traditions are based upon reasons, and at some point, that reason may have changed. If it is not known why something is done, wherein lies its authority to be believed? (And for the record, "faith" is the opposite of authority - belief that is not based on proof.)

Look up the word character in the dictionary. Qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity.* What the dictionary leaves out is that it would be foolish to define those qualities during times of peace and relative comfort. Its easy to have honesty and integrity when you're well-to-do, or courage when the toughest decision you face on a daily basis is which tie to wear to the office. No, character is defined under hardship or duress, when it goes against self-preservation or greed or hatred - a more Machiavellian causality; human nature.

If it can be agreed that the proof Job loved the Lord was in his suffering, not just because he believed it to be so, then it can also be agreed character is forged under those same conditions. Therefore, all things being equal, I submit to you happiness is defined similarly - under less than ideal circumstances; duress. Or if you prefer, Jung submits to you.* Happiness is easy to find when everything is going great! Less so, when the source of that happiness is challenged.

"Many tend to believe happiness is a state in life without complications. How this became a predominate and vastly incorrect definition is a mystery. Who has that? Ever? Nobody. If you wait for a time in life that has no obstacles or difficulties before being happy, you will NEVER be happy."*

So how to do you ensure that your own personal source of happiness is never threatened? YOU DON'T PLACE IT IN THAT WHICH CAN BE THREATENED! Encapsulate it intrinsically, and you will never be without it. michelle1963 recently came across a "happiness quotient" webpage which put names to things I've been doing since my 20s, and things I have surprisingly identified in others! But within all this text is a lesson for myself as well. It would appear that though I am a genuinely happy person, only those of my own personality type recognize it, and as such I don't sometimes recognize genuine happiness in those outside *my* personality type. I would go so far as to say that I've learned that behavior I don't consider traits of happiness others do, and traits I thought expressed my happiness were taken as the opposite. In a word, fascinating!

Beware of how you interact with others, or you might be accused of the very things you accuse others of. The more I experience, the more I learn, the more I learn the more I grow. Different personality types might reflect each other entirely antithetical to our perceived projections, sometimes to our own peril. As my son might ask, how do you know someone is happy? How do you know if they're not? You don't. You can't - we, as a race, are too diverse.

Tags: behavior, feel, happiness, kids, philosophy, psychology

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