The Art of Happiness

I tried reading “The Art of Happiness At Work” years ago, but didn’t like it. The author is a Western psychiatrist with intimate access to the Dalai Lama. The problem was, The Dalai Lama never had a job.

But, the same author first did “The Art of Happiness”, and someone recommended it to me and it’s pretty dang good. Maybe I’ll talk about that more later, but first I want to critique the final chapter, about spirituality. The author, for some reason, spends a page or two listing studies on how religion makes people happier. He states they are based on self-reports, but does not talk about the problems with that, and does not mention more recent studies on secular happiness. The book is a little old, so maybe he hadn’t seen one.

When he gets to the Dalai Lama’s opinion, we find a much more open-minded approach, recognizing the extent of non-belief, including those who claim a religion, but don’t practice it. The Dalai Lama says that’s where the power is, in really understanding the value of seeking a peaceful mind and compassionate life.

The ironic story is one of a guy who was kidnapped in the Mideast and held captive, but he kept his sanity and his love for his enemy by doing the practices of his religion. The author notes that outside the prison walls, war is waging and hate is in the streets. He seems to miss that it is religious violence. He makes no comment on it being so.

I’ve seen this in personal interactions, people arguing that religion is good for you, and others arguing the violence it causes. Not sure why that is an us vs them argument. Both are obviously true, irrefutable. The obvious step would be to look at the causes of both, beyond the scripture, the dress codes, the calls to prayer, or any of that junk.

Of course, that begs the question: What is there ‘beyond the scripture, the dress codes, the calls to prayer, or any of that junk’ ?

We’ve answered that in a million ways. It’s practically the mission statement here. It’s the pursuit of knowledge of who we are and how we build on peace and compassion.

How’s that going for us?
A pursuit that doesn’t progress, doesn’t sound like much of a pursuit to me, …
more like theater.

As for, the Art of Happiness?

How about lowering one’s expectations?
How about getting to know oneself and finding one’s place in the universe and finding peace in that understanding?

Oh yeah, same advice the wise one’s have been offering since people have been able to document words. Why doesn’t it soak into most human skulls?

Why no progress? That’s just how it is son.

I long for something with a little more substance, something that actually offers a benchmark to guide our machinations.

I hear a music break coming . . .

Had some fun meditations on that one, back in my framed canvas tent back in those innocent Yosemite days, as I was gearing up to take on the greater world beyond. :wink:

Ah. I see our disconnect. I’m not going to start up a new line of discussion with you, where I try to convince you that despite the end being inevitable, despite the aspirations of billions of humans to find heaven, and then to find aliens, or find just a few hours of complete world peace, despite our failure to achieve all that, I think we’ve had a hell of a run. Conquerors don’t get that far these days, the slave trade is not out in the open like it used to be, and there are hospitals and doctors that don’t care about borders. I’d be happy if the species lasted a couple more hundred thousand years, and I’m with the fact that I won’t be here then.

In the past, I had a backpack with survival gear near my door. I don’t do that anymore. Most of that darkness is now directed toward a dark sense of humor.

Talk about disconnect.
I’m talking about the intellectual inability to incorporate biological findings about reality into their discussions about human consciousness and Who We Are - now I find myself twisted into an argument about the defense of progress???

Though since you brought it up, why is it that our defense of progress is always so one-sided?

Look at all the wonderful things we’ve achieved - but what about what our collective consumer society that has created, our demand for ever more stuff has created hell holes worth of poor people, crammed into trash dumps. But that doesn’t get incorporated in our reflections.

We don’t have open proud slavers but we sure seem to have a lot of corporate slavers and refugees trapped within inescapable hell holes, that probably dwarf the numbers of humans involved in earlier slavery and entrapments.

Species of animals and plants disappearing at rates only bested by bolides crashing into Earth, but no worries, so long as we don’t discuss them.

Then you casually talk about humans two hundred years into the future, as though geophysical science doesn’t exist.

I am not out to pick a fight here - but I won’t be dismissed without defending this evolutionary bottom up, scientific approach to understanding human consciousness and thereby finally achieving some satisfying answers to those eternal questions, such as Who Am I?, or those ceaseless battle between the Will and the Flesh, etc.
Founded on sober scientific understanding.

Well. Have a nice day. I’m going to a party. Look at the words I’m respnding to. “Progress” is one of them. I did no roping