Post by petrushka on May 17, 2016 21:10:08 GMT -5
I am stealing this shamelessly from the beginning of a story that was posted to storiesonline.net 10 years ago.
It neatly lays out something that I have seen in similar form in various philosophical and psychological essays.
So here goes, and kudos to Bob, the author:
Life is almost never easy or relaxed or even happy in a routine sort of way.
That's a statement a lot of people would argue about. First of all it's a broad statement. The argument would probably start with the definition of "almost never" tied to "routine sort of way".
How many hours of the day is one relaxed or happy before the statement becomes false? Maybe you don't think it's fair to decide the truth or fiction of the statement based on the quantity of number of minutes or hours a person is happy during a day. Perhaps you think that if, at some time during the day, more days of the week than not, a person feels happiness, or relaxed, or that life is easy, then that statement is false.
Obviously, one can't feel gloriously happy all day, every day, but if a person isn't miserable for the majority of the day, wouldn't that suggest that life is happy? For the most part?
But people who want to argue about the amount of time a person is happy are missing the point. It isn't really about how often you are happy that really counts. What counts is if you can find a way to be happy at all.
Life is a struggle, almost all the time. Abraham Maslow's theory of needs illustrates that, whether you agree with his hypothesis or not. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that hypothesis, Mr. Maslow believed that all our energy goes into providing for ourselves in the following manner:
First we use our energy to obtain basic physiological needs - food, clothing, shelter etc.
Once we have that, we work towards safety and stability for ourselves and those we care about.
When that is taken care of we concentrate on obtaining friends, the feeling of belonging and love.
Once we feel we are loved by others, we try to rise to the top of the heap. We look for respect, and status, among other things.
After all that is done, we look toward self actualization, which involves truth, justice, and finding a meaning to our lives.
It's a five level pyramid when it's presented in graphic form. So, at what level can we say that we're happy most of the time? It's fair to say that few people spend the majority of their time on self actualization, which means they're still struggling primarily to get to one of the other levels. And if you spend your time and energy struggling to climb to another level, can you really say that you're happy "most of the time"?
So, at what level can we say that we're happy most of the time? It's fair to say that few people spend the majority of their time on self actualization, which means they're still struggling primarily to get to one of the other levels. And if you spend your time and energy struggling to climb to another level, can you really say that you're happy "most of the time"?
It's complicated even more when you realize that, in reality, we try to work on all five levels of the pyramid at the same time.
Something worth keeping in mind, really, when we plan out "the rest of our lives". Post leaving, or staying, or entering into something new.
Personally, I'd be happy to change the order of #4 and #5 ... 'self actualization' has always been much more important, much more meaningful to me than status.
Respect really falls into #3 for me. I expect to respect, and be respected by, the ones I consider friends, and the ones I love or am loved by.