Happiness is Mark of Purpose Level


Happiness is Mark of Purpose Level

3. A Primer on Synergetics<

By DON G. PURCELL

MOST, IF not all, of the great thinkers of the ages have recognized the close relationship between happiness in living and the purpose of life. For example, Robert G. Ingersoll said, "Reason, observation, and experience -- the holy trinity of science -- have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. Happiness is the true end and aim of life. It is the task of intelligence to ascertain the conditions of happiness, and when found, the truly wise will live in accordance with them. By happiness is meant not simply the joy o eating and drinking -- the gratification of th appetite -- but good, well-being in the highest, noblest forms. The joy that springs from obligations discharged, from duty done, from generous acts, from being true to the ideal, from a perception of the beautiful in nature, art, and conduct -- the happiness that is born of an gives birth to poetry and music, that follows the gratification of the highest wants. "Happiness is the result of all that is right and sane." Of course, my thesis is that happiness is the measure by which we may judge the purposefulness of our thoughts and actions, rather than being the "only good". But the difference is of little import as long as purpose i served.

At any rate, if happiness is the result of "the conditions of happiness" as Ingersoll suggests, then is it not by the sensation o happiness that we can tell when those conditions have been established? Let me digress a moment and try to describe to you what I think the sensation o happiness is, to the degree that I can describe it in words. It is a feeling of serenity, o peace of mind, of completeness. When one i sensing happiness he feels no conflict wit the world. There are no vague feelings of re sentment, or antagonism, or hate, or fear. There is no feeling of anxiety for the future no regret for the past. One feels that he IS; and for the duration of the sensation on KNOWS that he IS.

We all need happiness so desperately an experience so little of it in its true for that we accept gross sensations of pleasure o satisfaction as a substitute. But we can b aware of the difference. We can remember time when we were truly happy and compare the sensation with the sensation we felt when we accepted a substitute and called it happiness.

So we have another tool to help us in ou quest for purpose -- the sensation of happiness. When we create actions that lead to the sensation of happiness we can be sure that suet actions are in line with the purpose of life. Following this line of reasoning further w can conclude that the absence of the sensatio or the presence of the sensation of happines indicate that our actions are either notaligne with or are directly opposed to the accomplishment of purpose.

Thus we move down one level in our pyramid. At the top level, or apex, we ask th question, "What's life for? What's its purpose?" We donot ask this question facetiously' we really need to know the answer. We knot that we come into life without material assets, We also know that whatever material assets w the

G u~USe eve accumulate during life must be left behind when we leave this physical universe. By simple logic we can conclude that material success is not the basic purpose of life, else we could take our material success with us when we go. that is it then that we accumulate during life and take with _us when we go? If we can learn what it is and how we accumulate it, it naturally follows that we can do a better job of accumulating.

At any rate, we can tell when we are serving the purpose of life by the measure of happiness which we experience. So at the sec' and level down in our pyramid we find a tool by which we can chart a course and measure our progress: happiness.

Our next step, it would seem, is to determine the general classes of "conditions of happiness". What conditions do result in the sensation of happiness? There are several general kinds of conditions that measure up to our criteria. One of the most obvious is the condition of freedom. During his entire history man has felt the need for freedom. He has fought for it. He has died that his children might have it: freedom from oppression and tyranny; freedom of religion; freedom of speech; freedom of enterprise. An even greater need is for freedom of thought and freedom of spirit.

Another is the condition of survival. Any condition that contributes to the abundant survival of the individual to experience self, expression, any true act of self-expression, generates the feeling of happiness. And it is here that one must be aware of the difference between self-expression and self-glory, because