But I have known people whose lives are filled with pleasures and manifestations of success that are yet hollow and unfulfilled; I have also seen a lot whose lives are laced with pains and adversities, trials and tribulations that are the happiest people. Of course, these may seem unfathomable ironies. But the attitudes of either group are conditioned by their understanding of the meaning and purpose of existence, the goal of life. So, each person’s understanding of the goal of life or the purpose of existence will qualify his or her perception of pleasure and happiness or pains and adversity; similarly, how he enjoys or endures either situation.
What baffles me is that the more we tend to be epicurean, the more we defeat the spirit of Epicureanism that is pleasure and enjoyment of life or happiness. On the other hand, we tend to see stoicism as human failure whereas true Stoics are not flattered or unaffected by the storms and sweetness of life. They are not shattered or defeated by failures or embittered by disappointments in their journeys in life. In the coping and comportment of this class, I find lessons of strength. Such strength of character can be equated with a kind of pleasure or happiness.
Whether we fall into the category of the Stoics or of the Epicureans, we must look and live beyond the ordinary categorization of pleasure and pain to find true meaning of happiness. MTN and LG Electronics, in fact, every big advertising spender glamorizes life as being good. Yes. But the good life that is portrayed on the tubes and the giant billboards is hardly affordable by the ordinary or average man in our world. So, as we romanticize on living it, we accelerate our desperation, even when we are already blessed with some qualitative but unacknowledged enrichment.
This is exactly where we all mostly err. It is in our inability to see the reason to be happy and be grateful in spite our situation or ordeal. We also falter when we see the reason to be happy, in the mindless celebration of our achievement or accomplishment. In both cases, we must bring ourselves to the understanding of the pursuit of happiness. Since we all see wealth as a major source of happiness, we must begin to count our blessings in order to be happy. We may however be very unwise even in the enumeration or evaluation of our wealth because what we count most are the tangibles while we discount our qualitative wealth. When we reflect and discover our areas of strength and wealth in spite of our seeming want, we will find reason to be happy.
So, the extent of our happiness can be measured on our premium and discount in either of quantitative wealth or qualitative riches. Both can be the source of our happiness and the fountain of our desperation. We will also find happiness in our endurance, no matter the turbulence in which we swim, after all the test of our strength and integrity and faith is our steadfastness in the face of odds. We can however multiply in our happiness in the extent of joy we spread to others regardless of the ordeals we suffer or the deals we enjoy.