Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Road To Happiness

Man does not live by bread alone. Food is certainly a critical need, as is sleep, but that’s not enough. Rather than merely existing, man lives also by entertainment, intoxication and sex. It’s a very rare man that does not require at least two of those three things on a regular basis to be happy. Which of the three, or all of them, varies from man to man. This is true for the male half of mankind anyway. I don’t know any more about women than does the average man, which is to say, almost nothing.

Individual men may require additional things in order to be truly contented. I don’t think that I could have been as happy as I was without the opportunity to raise children. I say, “as happy as I was . . .” All men experience happiness in different measure. Was I successful? That jury is still out. I did the best that I could. Raising children made it all seem worthwhile, the whole life-on-earth thing. That was a big help.

Some men have interests that absorb them completely, interests that may seem strange to other men. Several men that I have met were all up in a fever about railroad trains. Some men feel compelled to collect tens of thousands of a particular item. These may be record albums or old books of matches; the list of things that men will collect is endless. The people who are subject to these compulsions are usually men. Women seem to be more practical about things in general.

One exception would be religion. Many men, and many women, are seized by religion with a vigor that seems almost dangerous. I’m not sure that I have ever noticed that seizure to produce any genuine happiness. Often it produces the opposite effect.

I think that it is best to try to avoid the overwhelming need to own certain things, or to understand certain arcane subjects, or to be loved by certain Gods. Those complications just make life harder than it already is.

Stick to the basics, that’s my advice.  

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