The Pursuit Of Happiness

… And it was at that time that I thought about Thomas Jefferson writing that Declaration of Independence. Him saying that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I thought about how he knew to put the ‘pursuit’ in there, like no one can actually have happiness. We can only pursue it.

Christopher Gardner (The Pursuit Of Happyness)

Do you really think that no matter what we do, we can never really attain happiness; we can only pursue it?

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Mohamed Marwen Meddah is a web development director, amateur photographer and web enthusiast from Tunisia, currently living in Canada.

6 thoughts on “The Pursuit Of Happiness”

  1. The movie says so, finally he attained happiness after really long journey, because it’s a movie.
    teh question is, will the journey ever ends.

  2. The movie says so, finally he attained happiness after really long journey, because it’s a movie.
    teh question is, will the journey ever ends.

  3. I very much DO believe that we can never truly attain complete happiness, and can only pursue it. I tried to get into it here in your comment section but it just became too long of an essay, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just blog about it and link back here to your post!

    And on a lighter note, I really liked that movie 🙂

  4. @Amer: I don’t think the journey ever ends, we have little stops or periods of happiness, but our journey goes on pursuing ever greater and complete happiness.

    @Hal: I too believe that we can only pursue complete happiness, even though I sometimes I let myself hope that there is a slight possibility that it can be attained. I can’t wait to read your post 🙂
    I really liked the movie too.

  5. I fear, good-hearted people, that yours is a more idealistic vision of what constitutes happiness, probably sprung from cultures based more on spiritual values than is my own. (The Crusades, for example, that great expression of Western religiosity, was all venality cloaked in the sanctimony of Christianity. But then, perhaps you thought that anyway? 🙂 )

    Here’s the onion: in the context of the 18th century, “pursuit of happiness” meant the acquisition of material wealth. The American squirearchy such as Jefferson, Hancock, Adams and Hamilton, had been raised in the tenets of 17th century social contract theory, the writings of Locke, Rousseau, Hobbs. The America of their time was considered in this philosophy to be a “state of nature”, an endless virgin land to which people could escape the stifling rigidity of the Old World and make their fortunes, unfettered by the cold, dead hand of Church and Aristocracy.

    This vision of pecuniary gain as freedom had no greater champion than John Locke, who wrote that “a man mingleth the sweat of his brown with the land and maketh it his own.”

    Freedom of want begat happiness. Happiness was a material, not a spiritual state. And that’s the happiness upon which this republic was founded: materialism. We’ve always been true to it.

    So here we are, April 19. On this date in history in 1776, the Lexington and Concord militias turned out to face 1,000 British Regulars, who were quickly reinforced by another 1,000. The Battles of Lexington and Concord sparked the American Revolution, fought to ensure us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Life, we have.

    Tragic, really, our whole spiral into oligarchy and imperialism. In classic tragedy, of course, the protagonist is destroyed by a flaw in his own character. The same is true of nations. The Roman Republic lasted for what? 400 years? I doubt we’ll equal that record.

    And it being The Day, a virtual salute, through the kindness of MMM, to the commanders of the Lexington and Concord Minutemen, wherever they are now: Captain John Parker, an ailing, tubercular farmer, and Sergeant William Munroe, a tavern keeper and no small drinker himself. Veterans of the French and Indian Wars, pillars of their small farming communities, loving parents, brave men, forebearers whose boots I am not fit to lace.)

    Peace. Be happy. 🙂

  6. great application of deconstructionism to the founding of america jimbo.

    all human emotions are extensions of primal emotions that exist (in animals) to promote evolution. The goal of evolution is survival. Once an organism can survive and live day-to-day without fear of death or lack of sustenance, evolution has fulfilled its goal and what takes the place of surviving is boredom.

    This boredom is the end of evolution and the beginning of involution, the advancement of knowledge through reason (it should be reminded that reason is the fundamental principle of philosophy which is anti-evolution; if you sit around thinking all day then you will not have time to gather food and shelter for yourself. Happiness is the mirage that humans invented to promote change in order to attain it. Life is the by-product. The ultimate goal is Truth, attainable as a collective.

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