"There is something ridiculous and even quite indecent in an individual claiming to be happy. Still more a people or a nation making such a claim. The pursuit of happiness ...is without any question the most fatuous which could possibly be undertaken. This lamentable phrase the pursuit of happiness is responsible for a good part of the ills and miseries of the modern world."The outcry is deafening. Everyone deserves to be happy, do what you love, seek your fortune, go discover yourself -- and so on. And yet we never learn that in our fervor to seek happiness we miss it altogether. It is not something to be pursued. It is not something to be had. It is not something deserved.
"Where, then, does happiness lie? In forgetfulness, not indulgence, of the self. In escape from sensual appetites, not in their satisfaction. We live in a dark, self in-closed prison, which is all we see or know if our glance is fixed ever downward. To lift it upward, becoming aware of the wide luminous universe -- this alone is happiness. At its highest level such happiness is the ecstasy that mystics have inadequately described."At which point some of you reading this may start thinking yeah, ok, but I'm no mystic so whatever. Ponder this for ten seconds:
"At more humdrum levels it is human love; the delights and beauties of our dear earth, its colors and shapes and sounds; the enchantment of understanding and laughing, and all the exercise of such faculties as we possess; the marvel of the meaning of everything, fitfully glimpsed, inadequately expounded, but ever present."How many authors do you know who describe human love as "humdrum"? As I re-read this list of humdrum happinesses I realize I know far too many people who have not attained even this level. And, most distressing, I know staunch atheists in Boston who do a better job as some of these listed here than many Christians!
"I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus."
All quotes from Seeing Through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith