Monday, 14 April 2014

changming yuan: towards happiness -3

being happy is more than a physiological experience. although you may feel happy because of an physical stimulus in the form of a physical object or activity, that kind of happiness is physiological, and thus ephemeral. for instance, good food may make you feel happy while you eat it, but once you stop doing so, you lose the joyful feeling or, if you eat too much, you will feel bad rather good. similarly, orgasm can make you feel ecstatic, but it usually lasts no more than a few minutes. put differently, physical objects or activities may give you pleasurable experiences which in turn may contribute directly and greatly to your sense of happiness, they will not happify your life in a sustainable way.

happiness is then a psychological experience, which is attainable at two levels. at the emotional level, happiness is a climate of heart, where you have warm sunshine instead of violent storms.whenever you feel peaceful, grateful, hopeful, loved or respected, you are happy; needless to say, whenever you feel angry, anxious, jealous, revengeful, fearful, betrayed, distressed, disappointed or worried, you are unhappy. since not every day is sunny spring day, your emotions are constantly changing over time, depending upon the external and/or internal factors that work on you in one way or another.

any happiness you can obtain at the physiological or emotional level is low-qualitied, because it is unstable, uninformed, usually uncontrollable. only when you develop an intellectual sense of happiness, that is, a profound understanding of true happiness and effective ways to attain it can you obtain high-qualitied happiness.

at the intellectual level, happiness is a state of mind, where you are the informed and enlightened master who can control your own emotions. it is true that some people may feel happy without having to be 'informed' or 'enlightened'; it is also true that some others may live a happy life simply because they are lucky to have enough positive physiological or emotional stimuli; however, the kind of happiness they enjoy is intuitive or accidental. for most people, happiness is something they can obtain and sustain through effort at the intellectual level. that is why there have been so many efforts made in human history to attain happiness through religion, philosophy and education.

so, happiness can be divided into two categories, and here are some of the most important features of happiness as a positive psychological condition::

low-qualiited; physiological; emotional; intuitive; innate; uninformed; unenlightened; unstable; heart-felt;
high-qualitied; psychological; intellectual; learned; acquired; informed; enlightened; stable; mind-set;...


every religion is a unique practical effort made by a particular group of people to attain happiness in reality.

the ultimate purpose of education should be equipping an individual with the right kind of knowledge, skill and attitude to obtain happiness in a given human society. 

the biggest issue with the humanity is that we have been paying too much attention to the means, such as money, commercialization, education, politics, science and technology as well as success, by which to attain happiness, rather than to our end itself, that is, to live a happy life!

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