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Happiness The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet -James Oppenheim As I gaze out the window in my room, my curiosity keeps me there,wondering what it is that makes a person smile. Do they smile because they aregenuinely happy? Or because they just heard a funny joke? Maybe their smile is justa mask, used to conceal their pathetic, lonely reality. Through speculation andinterviews, I have been able to untangle the uncertainty of meaning true happiness. Happiness has no limits, for it can be felt at any time, any place, to any person. Apersonal experience, confined to the person and moment it belongs. Many people chase happiness, thinking of it as pleasure or riches. However,it is elusive until we stop looking for it. Happiness is not pleasure, for pleasure is anend in itself. It is something that is hunted for. Happiness cannot be hunted for; it isnot obvious, but inscrutable. It confronts us in infinite forms. The idea thathappiness is the one ultimate good is known as hedonism 1 The hedonists believepleasure is the highest goal attainable in life, and can be found through outsideinfluences. They are forgetting that there is much more to happiness than what canbe seen. For example, it is possible for a millionaire to be unhappy, despite theamount of money in their bank account, while at the same time a hermit may behappy under the most miserable circumstances. Although money may bring animmediate sense of pleasure to a person, it does not produce the stability that isassociated with true happiness. Pleasure may help a person avoid the detractors thatcause unhappiness, but it does not produce the stability that is associated with truehappiness. Happiness is realized by understanding one s self, which is completely apersonal experience. For instance, a person may find happiness in one thing,whereas someone else may in another; or both may find it happy in the same thing,but for different reasons. Written in the Declaration of Independence by ThomasJefferson is the immortal phrase Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . Life is

eternal, and liberty is an inalienable right. However, we are only offered the right topursue happiness. A person can be given liberty but not happiness because it is notan outward excursion of the soul, but an inward invasion. Today we live in a world that is constantly seeking for happiness. Peoplehave a mania about being happy and it has turned into a national hobby. It is also abillion dollar business. Everywhere we turn someone has something that claims willmake us happy. If we drink a certain beer, buy a certain car, wear a certain pair ofpants, use a certain shampoo we are going to be happy. More often than not, peoplebecome blinded by the eye appealing advertisement, and begin to believe it may aidein their eternal quest towards happiness. We have passed down from generation togeneration the belief that happiness can be attributed to external causes. We ve beentold that other people and the circumstances of our lives make us happy or unhappy. Thus, implying that happiness is outside ourselves. Happiness comes from the Old English word hap , which means something that happens . Happiness, then, happens. Happiness is what we let itto be. We can be happy, like the hermit, even if we are alone and in pain. Happiness is not the absence of sadness or pain. We cannot make ourselves happy. It is elusive precisely until we stop looking for it. While we search for it, we are onlychasing something we vaguely think to be happiness. Happiness is defined in Websters dictionary as a state well being andcontentment or of pleasurable satisfaction . This definition makes happiness astate of the body. True happiness is a spiritual state and can exist even when thebody is utterly miserable. There is much more to happiness than feeling good or thegratification of sensual desires. Bodily contentment demands constant attention andreplenishment, and soon wears off. Happiness is what we let it to be, and eventhough carry the ability to let ourselves be happy, we rarely do.


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