Wednesday, February 20, 2008

tHe PHiLosOPhy oF HapPIneSS

I remember when we were in university, one of my best friends and I had this discussion on what is happiness. Of course, it should come as no surprise we were both aspiring philosophy students then. Our exchanges went on for months, even years maybe. We were trying to come up with a definition of happiness. In a sense, I suppose we were trying to figure out if we were happy.

We fought about the absolute value of happiness, and its longevity. We debated the real meaning of happiness, and at what cost to achieve it. I even came up with this grand theory that happiness is superficial, transient, temporal; while joy is deep, fulfilling, eternal. Something about a state of mind, as opposed to a state of being.

It’s funny how 10, 12 years ago, we were already struggling to find some resolution then, just as we are struggling to find some resolution now. Did we come to some form of agreement? Did we hit stalemate? Did we raise the white flag in surrender? It doesn’t really matter. We are still the best of friends. We still meet up for meals and go shopping together. And even though philosophical discussions are alluring, we have learnt to temper them with a good dose of reality.

Happiness? I guess it’s when you can chuckle to yourself in contentment, while the rest of the world is asleep.

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