A human being is born mostly as a physical system, which later on evolves into a physical and mental system. Together two of them propel human life, under the guidance of the latter. The need for happiness only arises when the combined system is unable to fend off general unhappiness and peace of mind. Left to himself man would be peaceful as long as physical needs were taken care of. But the great problem is that he is not left to himself. He lives in a world, which comprises of society, culture, economy, politics, and other things. So, man’s life is complex, and because of that his happiness may become difficult to achieve. Much can be written on the guidelines to achieve if not happiness, at least peacefulness, as we have a lot of experience from the past. Following are my salient points to achieve a reasonable level of peacefulness:
A person has to have goals in life, even when he is old. An idle mind is a terrible drag to peacefulness, it can even create a harmful mental state. Examples of goals are improving on the knowledge of a subject one has greatly cherished, acquiring knowledge of new subjects, writing one’s memoir, joining a humanitarian group, traveling to a place known for its beauty or history, etc. There are a huge number of good goals that cultivate peacefulness. The chosen fields must appeal to your heart and mind.
Look at human beliefs and activities as ideas. Then choose the ideas that are close to your heart. This is significant, as according to popular philosophies on how to be happy, you pick up what is close to your heart. But I am introducing the idea that man’s work should be appealing as an idea also, besides it being close to his heart. Living entirely to satisfy your heart may not survive very long, as a heart at times can be fickle. Ideas are the building blocks of human mind, so they are enduring.
3.Member of The Human Community:
Consider yourself to be a member of the human race, not of this group or that group only. This affiliation puts you at a higher level of existence. You will be happier feeling part of the mankind.
4.Do Not Be Afraid of Death:
A human being’s life is finite, sooner or later he has to return the gift of his life to God or nature, depending upon whom he believes is the life-giver.
5. Belief in God or Science:
If you are fifty or above your belief in God or science would have already been established. You may even believe in a hybrid system where religion and science coexist. Let it remain so. Do not embark on a new search now.
6. Love of Nature:
Even if you are religious you should cultivate a love of nature. Our bodies are all nature. Feeling closeness with nature will enhance the quality of your life.
7. Love of Mankind:
You should love mankind, even if you hate some of its individuals. This gives you a feeling that you are not alone but belong to a big group. Feel a brotherhood with mankind. Have some heroes, they will inspire you. Their stories will enrich your life, as they are a living example of greatness that some us have achieved.
The above ideas form the large-scale architecture of human happiness, but for every man there may be some special things which are uncompromisable for his happiness.
Man has not basically been designed to be happy or sad, but to live with his environment peacefully. But when this environment is disturbed, unhappiness is born.
Suffern, N.Y., September 25, 2020