" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

January 8, 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness Can Make You Miserable

"It's true that for many of us the idea of happiness depends on events and experiences that give us pleasure, encouragement or positive stimulation of some other kind.
'Joy' might not be the word you'd choose to describe something more enduring, something that doesn't rely on external stimuli, but many people, with or without religious faith, describe a grounding, a calm confidence that keeps them balanced even in the face of turbulent or challenging events - and phases of unhappiness.
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.
The popular idea of happiness is focused on a pleasant sense of uplift, maximising the possibility of positive emotional experiences, such as pleasure, gratification or fulfillment; nurturing a generally positive attitude.
It goes without saying that we enjoy that uplift and sometimes seek out experiences that will create it.
But if we go further and yield to the temptation to confuse or conflate such happiness with the good life, we create some emotional and cultural hazards for ourselves - even some moral hazards. 
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.
Have a realistic and hopefully pleasant day;-) 

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?
Trust Bowie to leave us with a smile, even when looking into the face of death:-)


  1. Good one, Daz! A book of possible interest for you" Chris Mackey's book on synchronicity. He's going to be in Australia speaking at the opening of time is art - the movie on synchronicity.

  2. Here's a funny "coincidence" regarding Chris Mackey's book Trish.
    I had never heard of him until you brought him to my attention in your comment,so I Googled his name and found his blog and there was a pod-cast section and the top of the list is one called "Synchronicity interview with Mitch Foy, 99.9 Bay FM".
    99.9 Bay FM is the lone radio station of Byron Bay.
    I knew that the synchronicity movie is only going to be screened in Melbourne, so far, as far as Australia goes,and that is about 1,118 miles away from where I live.
    I was about to tell you that a trip to Melbourne is way outside my budget, as I only just booked the Easter weekend to stay down in Byron Bay for the Byron Bay Bluesfest and then in April I'm heading down to Canberra to visit my son and watch my football team the Sharks take on the local Canberra side.
    I've been hoping for a screening of this movie in Brisbane (where I live at the moment), or Byron Bay, so it's good to hear Chris on Bay FM, because that may open the way for a screening in this area.
    The Byron Bay area is where you would think a screening of a movie like this would take place in Australia, as it is the New Age capital of Australia (unofficially that is).
    By the way, I was only just wearing my Bay FM t-shirt the other day, as well.
    I guess at the least I'll have to read Chris Mackey's book after this little synchronicity.