Sunday, September 13, 2009
Purpose & Happiness
You wake up in the morning, get dressed and head to work. Drink your morning coffee and perhaps scan through the daily paper for interesting news. Get into the whirlpool of work until the bell rings. Head back home for an evening with yourself or loved one(s).
This is a standard day for a regular person living the day to day life, earning a living, trying to be happy simply by surviving and sometimes also by making his/her loved ones happy too. In the midst of all of this you can't help but wonder, what is your purpose?
Purpose is a heavy word. I think everyone should have some sense of purpose, and if they don't, they're living an unhappy or unfulfilled life.
I had an argument once with a distant friend about the ultimate purpose of a human being. I was insisting that it should be to transcend the society we live in. To positively contribute to ourselves, our families, our community, our society, our country and consequently, our world. That, I proclaimed, should be the ultimate purpose.
She insisted, and I hope I'm reflecting her thoughts fairly here, that the ultimate purpose of human beings is to be happy. What comes after transcending ourselves, the community and so on is happiness, and that is what we ultimately seek.
I thought her argument made more sense in the grand scheme of things, and I was sensibly brought about to agree with her. However, I now have an addition to make to that...
Human beings, by nature, are social beings. We share our lives in societies where personal interactions take place on a daily basis. By choice as well as by necessity. We feel the urge to talk to people, to communicate with people, to compete with people, and to share with people. This genetically embedded characteristic inevitably led me to an important revelation: Happiness is not complete unless it's shared!
People choose partners to be with. People fall in love with these partners. True love is the most profound generator of selfless actions. Why? Because loving someone means that you want to make that someone happy. That love inspires you to do all sorts of selfless acts to put the person you love before you to reach the supreme goal of making them happy.
Looking a little deeper into things, you'll discover that maybe there's more into it. Maybe it's not so selfless after all. Making the person you love happy consequently makes you happy! The cliché phrase of “if you're happy, I'm happy” might seem selfless and profound on the surface, but perhaps it's more selfish in nature than we originally thought!
So if I'm in love with someone, I would do anything to make them happy because ultimately, if they're happy I am happy. So in transience, I'm working hard to achieve happiness for me!!
It doesn't stop there though. As it happens to be, human beings are more complicated and demanding. It's not enough for me to be happy, I have to share my happiness with my loved one so I can be fully happy, and thus the cycle of happiness ensues!
It might all seem so simple, yet so many things go wrong in relationships. Some end up bringing about more pain than joy, more tears than laughter and more sadness than happiness. The reason to that is because ultimately the driving force of the actions in a relationship is a selfish one in its core. If you break up with someone, is it because they've become unhappy or you've become unhappy? Or is it because when they became unhappy you became unhappy, so the relationship is not working for you anymore and you pull out?
People in life need a sense of purpose to survive. Once sought, this purpose leads to happiness, which is the ultimate purpose. Happiness is only complete if it's selfishly shared, and it is this very selfishness that is the reason of our superior survival as beings.