Anyone who has the remotest interest in the idle musings of me, Moraymint, would almost certainly conclude that I’m a pessimist. Indeed, some would doubtless go so far as to say that I’m the proverbial miserable old git who really should get a life. Post after post on this blog identifies me with that time-honoured philosophy, ‘The End is Nigh’. What’s more, this blog’s strapline is ‘a father’s thoughts for his children …’ and some of you might be forgiven for thinking that, on the basis of the evidence available, thank God I wasn’t born to Moraymint. So, here’s an attempt – one of a handful of similar posts – at turning the tables, with the intention of doing a few more (not too many) of the same in future.
Life’s sweet really. Rarely a day passes when I don’t remind myself to keep things in perspective and to count my lucky stars; so that’s what I do, most days: keep things in perspective and count my lucky stars. It’s all about the pursuit of happiness in the end, of course. The question is, what are the sources of human happiness? When philosophers talk about the pursuit of happiness they’re not referring to the sort of fleeting happiness that goes with, say, enjoying a bottle of your favourite wine, or puffing on a cannabis joint (if that’s what floats your boat), or taking a ride on an Alton Towers roller coaster, or what have you. Happiness associated with these sorts of experiences constitutes a fleeting moment of pleasure, the likes of which are not terribly hard to find, and which generally don’t come to much in the end.
No, when philosophers consider human happiness they’re contemplating that form of happiness which is about enduring contentment almost regardless of what life throws at us. So, in a nutshell, what is that makes Moraymint happy? What are the sources of any enduring contentment that I might have as a human being (or ‘human bean’ as one of my children used to say as a youngster) faced with the trials and tribulations of life? Happiness or, rather, enduring contentment for me stems from 3 sources: to be blessed with good health; to love and to be loved by family and friends; and to be free. By being free, I’m referring in essence to freedom of thought, freedom of religion (I’m an atheist as it happens), freedom of speech and freedom of expression. But also ‘freedom’ as in not living at risk of being randomly arrested and detained; that’s terribly important too. The 800 year-old Magna Carta has a lot going for it in this respect. It was Benjamin Franklin who, in 1722, said:
“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech”
Keeping Things in Perspective
So, there you have it. Over the years that I’ve been posting to this blog, some folk in both the ether and in real life have chided me for being too downbeat, for seeing much that is wrong with the world and failing to celebrate so much that is good. I choose to exploit the freedom I have to express my thoughts about the trajectory of a way of life that I treasure; indeed, a way of life for which as an ex-serviceman I once put my life on the line from time to time. It seems to me, however, that the trajectory of our way of life here in the UK and, indeed, in many other nations of the so-called ‘developed world’ ain’t looking too great, to be honest.
So, I choose to highlight those global and national incidents and trends – usually related to economic, political and social matters – which I consider to be potential threats to my cherished way of life and the lives of my children as they seek their own happiness.
All that said, I recognise that the onus is on me to balance the bad stuff with the good stuff, be seen to be keeping things in perspective and to make the most of my happiness. As a matter of interest what’s the source of your own happiness?