What such people are describing is a clear sense of purpose which is neither generated nor influenced by our ever-changing emotional state.
If you're clear about how you mean to live your life, the day-to-day (or hour-to-hour, or moment-to-moment) question of whether you happen to be feeling happy or sad hardly seems to matter; those emotions are no more than interesting signals about your response to the passing parade.
It goes without saying that we enjoy that uplift and sometimes seek out experiences that will create it.
The most obvious one is that all the talk about happiness puts the emphasis on Me and how I'm feeling, whereas the goodness of a life, as we shall see in chapter 5, is about moral sensitivity and integrity rather than emotional well-being.
If you accept that (and I hope you will at least have given it some serious thought by the time you reach the end of this book), it follows that the measure of a good life could hardly be based on some assessment of how happy we are; it will depended primarily upon how well we treat others, regardless of how that makes us feel.
Another hazard is that we will find ourselves privileging happiness above all the other colours in the spectrum of emotions that make us who we are.
Out of all of the emotions available to us, why pick on one for favourable attention, especially if, on reflection, it turns out to be the one that has least to teach us about what it means to be fully human, fully engaged with the life of the world we live in?
In particular, an obsession with happiness can make us scared of sadness and rather unhealthily relentless in our pursuit of the positive.
Without sadness, we would never know what happiness is."
From the book The Good Life, written by Hugh Mackay.
UPDATE: 16th January, 2016
I was watching David Bowie's Blackstar music clip today and the smiley face pinned to his spacesuit made me think of this post that I wrote on Bowie's birth-date.
Synchy, or what?-)
|The Man Who Fell to Earth?|