I like the idea of being skeptical of happiness. It feels good, in a weird way, because it's so the opposite of the bullshit we're sold constantly. With that being said, whenever someone challenges the idea that happiness is the ultimate goal, I'm bound to pay attention.
This morning, I stumbled on Darius Foroux's article The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness. It was published back in October 2016 which goes to show you how timeless this challenge can be.
Forget the last few years, though, Foroux digs into the archives to understand the meaning of life when it's boiled down to happiness. He found an answer in a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Happiness as the only goal in life often ends up being a razor-sharp selfish pursuit. Unless you make an effort to be useful to others, you're chasing fleeting squirts of dopamine with little around you to show for it. As Foroux wrote, "I believe that happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness."
This is the existential side to the concept of idea sex. You're one piece of the infinite puzzle, one cell in the collective brain. If cultures exchanging ideas helps the world progress in magical ways, why wouldn't you add your life to the great pursuit of inching forward? The world has been here way before you and, with some luck, it will be here way after you're gone. Give what you got.
One of my best friends, Rob, gave back today of all days. It's his 32nd birthday. And instead of celebrating his day, he asked others to consider donating to another friend's favorite nonprofit - Comfort Zone Camp, a free-of-charge bereavement camp for children that have lost loved ones.
Besides the ask, Rob has made something beyond his time volunteering with the Comfort Zone Camp too. Rob wrote and published Whale Fall, a children’s book designed to facilitate conversations about loss. Happiness wasn't the goal that made the book, Rob just did it to help. But I know it made him happy to do it too.
That's the idea of this blog. I could ramble on and on about things that make me happy or a whole range of feelings, just by looking at them, but if I could offer up something we both find useful in this weird experiment of life, why not find happiness there too?
If you need a way to do something and find happiness today, consider purchasing Whale Fall or donating a few bucks to the 2018 NJ Grief Relief 5K for the Comfort Zone Camp. It will make all the difference.