This can be demonstrated in real life. We've all heard about societies in mountains, secluded from everyone else, cut off from contact with the rest of the world, in despicable poverty and inconceivable distress, but completely happy because they cannot conceive of the idea that life could be better than this. I can also turn to literature: Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, provides a perfect example of this definition of happiness. At the outset of the play, Macbeth has just single-handedly beat down a rebellion and won a war, and he comes back to his hometown and exults in the praise of King Duncan. He seems happy... until, that is, the three witches plant the idea of being king in Macbeth's mind. From then on, the rest of the play is just documentation of his emotional entropy, his slow disintegration and descent into paranoia, insanity, and death.
Of course, this idea isn't new. This is what Buddhism says; if one has no desire for anything, one can be perfectly happy. I've come to the conclusion, however, that it's impossible for humans to not desire something that seems like it will make one happier; this is why the act of wanting to be happy will never lead to happiness. This is why ignorance is bliss; if someone thinks that their life is the best it can be, despite the fact that it can never be so, then they will be happy. The grass, indeed, is never greener; it only seems like it is from far away enough. So, if you want your children to be happy, send them into the mountains to fend for themselves before they are old to enough to have any conception of any other type of lifestyle. It's the only way to happiness.
Caveman with big club
- Adarsh Nednur
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