Happiness

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“What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death’s hands.”

-Seneca

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“Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity,—time! And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.”

-Seneca

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“But we may fairly say that they alone are engaged in the true duties of life who shall wish to have Zeno, Pythagoras, Democritus, and all the other high priests of liberal studies, and Aristotle and Theophrastus, as their most intimate friends every day. No one of these will be “not at home,” no one of these will fail to have his visitor leave more happy and more devoted to himself than when he came, no one of these will allow anyone to leave him with empty hands; all mortals can meet with them by night or by day.

 

No one of these will force you to die, but all will teach you how to die; no one of these will wear out your years, but each will add his own years to yours; conversations with no one of these will bring you peril, the friendship of none will endanger your life, the courting of none will tax your purse. From them you will take whatever you wish; it will be no fault of theirs if you do not draw the utmost that you can desire. What happiness, what a fair old age awaits him who has offered himself as a client to these! He will have friends from whom he may seek counsel on matters great and small, whom he may consult every day about himself, from whom he may hear truth without insult, praise without flattery, and after whose likeness he may fashion himself.

 

We are wont to say that it was not in our power to choose the parents who fell to our lot, that they have been given to men by chance; yet we may be the sons of whomsoever we will. Households there are of noblest intellects; choose the one into which you wish to be adopted; you will inherit not merely their name, but even their property, which there will be no need to guard in a mean or niggardly spirit; the more persons you share it with, the greater it will become. These will open to you the path to immortality, and will raise you to a height from which no one is cast down. This is the only way of prolonging mortality—nay, of turning it into immortality. Honours, monuments, all that ambition has commanded by decrees or reared in works of stone, quickly sink to ruin; there is nothing that the lapse of time does not tear down and remove. But the works which philosophy has consecrated cannot be harmed; no age will destroy them, no age reduce them; the following and each succeeding age will but increase the reverence for them, since envy works upon what is close at hand, and things that are far off we are more free to admire. The life of the philosopher, therefore, has wide range, and he is not confined by the same bounds that shut others in. He alone is freed from the limitations of the human race; all ages serve him as if a god. Has some time passed by? This he embraces by recollection. Is time present? This he uses. Is it still to come? This he anticipates. He makes his life long by combining all times into one.

 

But those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear for the future have a life that is very brief and troubled; when they have reached the end of it, the poor wretches perceive too late that for such a long while they have been busied in doing nothing.”

– Seneca

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Though  we’re just a speck in the universe, we  place ourselves at the center of reality. That memetic conceit was evolutionarily advantageous to literally fighting apes.  Since  sapiens(wise)  life should be based on  reality, a man’s  intellectually honest duty is  to play the role of a nobody. To live a meaningful life, we should

distinguish between our subjective perception and the objective reality.

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Everything, even a man, is nothing more than a fraction of a ripple in an infinite sea of entropy. It is our memetic plus instinctive survival mechanism ( mostly algorithmic in nature) that makes us  think that we’re special. To live a meaningful life, we should distinguish between our subjective perception and the objective reality.

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A sense of insignificance  liberates us from the grips of  blind memetic algorithms.

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It’s a memetic algorithm that compares us to people that don’t matter, or makes us chase things we don’t want or need.

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Being a nobody allows us to feel, appreciate and enjoy the sublime.

 

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Edmund Burke separated aesthetic  experiences into “the beautiful” and “the sublime.”

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While the  “the beautiful” attracts and pleases, “the sublime” overwhelms, engulfs and  makes us feel small.

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When we are in awe at the sight of a sky-kissing temple or mountain, we experience “the sublime”- a heightened sense of existence beyond comfort and normalcy.

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Only by  giving up a part of ourselves,we can enjoy the sublime.

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Only as inferior we can  see something  superior.

 

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Ecstasy is the taste of vulnerability.

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Memetic superiority complex leads to a kind of paralysis that steals the potential of experiencing “the sublime”.

 

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Being a nobody frees us from unnecessary ambitions, labels and hierarchies.

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Labels and hierarchies aren’t absolute.

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There is no ‘man’ , ‘tree’ or even ‘nature’  in nature’s eye. They are  just our way of translating sensory noise into a useful mode of organization.

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When we bind labels and hierarchies too closely to our identity, life becomes a nightmare. Can the value of my  life lie at the tip of your tongue?

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Being a nobody frees us  from many of the petty social pressures (i.e.  relics of some blind memetic algorithms of  the  past).

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We’re each a negligible part of a vast cosmos. It is natural, and perhaps healthy, to stay startled!

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Nowadays thinkers, politicians and even economists want to replace GDP with GDH – gross domestic happiness. After all, production is only the means, not the end.

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Happiness ( yes, meaningful one)  blesses us only when we see life in its entirety as an anthropically  worthwhile adventure. People who identify happiness with fleeting pleasant sensations stay lifelong slaves to those biochemical algorithms.

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Blind chemomechanical  algorithms can tangle themselves into incredible stuff  like  life,  organs, plants, people, etc.

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“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
– Charles R. Swindoll.

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“Loneliness is not the absence of affection, but the absence of direction.”
-Mike Murdock

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Life’s a longing for unconditional love.
The things that make people organically happy is the deep relationships of life- the losing of self-sufficiency and enjoying dependence on others.
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Happiness is the ability to enjoy suffering for serving society.
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Pain that is not transformed into joy gets transmitted to initiate social changes.

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We are born to know but forced to earn. Some people think oppositely.

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………………………………………… Shouldn’t we try to enjoy even our mere and bare EXISTENCE (oh yes! including Amazon or Flipkart products)? …………………………………………
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“I’ll drink life to the lees.”
-Alfred Lord Tennyson

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“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

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“Happiness is not a goal… it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt
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“Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply be what is generally called a “success.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt
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“A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.”
– Marcus Aurelius

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“The human heart has a tiresome tendency to label as fate only what crushes it. But happiness likewise, in its way, is without reason, since it is inevitable.”
-Albert Camus

 

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“This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

-Albert Camus

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“The fight itself towards the summits suffices to fill a heart of man; it is necessary to imagine Sisyphus happy.”

-Albert Camus

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“The absurd is lucid reason noting its limits.”

-Albert Camus

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“From the moment absurdity is recognized, it becomes a passion, the most harrowing of all. But whether or not one can live with one’s passions, whether or not one can accept their law, which is to burn the heart they simultaneously exalt – that is the whole question.”

-Albert Camus

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Life’s too short to be sober.

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“The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning. This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point.”

-Albert Camus

 

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“Almost nothing material is needed for a happy life, for he who has understood existence.”

– Marcus Aurelius

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“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”-Nietzsche
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“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness – that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what – at last – I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.”
-Bertrand Russell
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“Happiness is a journey, not a destination; happiness is to be found along the way not at the end of the road.”

 

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It seems, there’s more to life than being happy. It is meaning.

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Modern despair is not a lack of happiness but of meaning in life.

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Meaning comes from belonging to and serving a higher ideal.

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Four pillars of a meaningful life- belonging(relationship), purpose(urgency), transcendence(detachment) and storytelling(belief in the first three).

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“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable receiving.”

  • Albert Einstein

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“The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.”

  • Albert Einstein
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“Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.”

  • Einstein

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“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”

  • Einstein
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    Einstein’s thought experiments with imaginary scenarios led to his revolutionary ideas about space and time.
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    “I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”
  • Albert Einstein

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“A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.”

  • Albert Einstein
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    “He who finds a thought that lets us a little deeper into the eternal mystery of nature has been granted great peace.”
  • Albert Einstein

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“Well-being and happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim. I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig.”

  • Albert Einstein
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    “All that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
  • Albert Einstein
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    “I see a pattern, but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern.”
    -Einstein
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“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

  • Albert Einstein

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“I agree with Schopenhauer that one of the most powerful motives that attracts people to science and art is the longing to escape from everyday life.”

  • Albert Einstein

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“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal , not to objects or people.”

  • Albert Einstein.

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“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”

  • Albert Einstein
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    “When I was a fairly precocious young man I became thoroughly impressed with the futility of the hopes and strivings that chase most men restlessly through life. Moreover, I soon discovered the cruelty of that chase, which in those years was much more carefully covered up by hypocrisy and glittering words than is the case today. By the mere existence of his stomach everyone was condemned to participate in that chase. The stomach might well be satisfied by such participation, but not man insofar as he is a thinking and feeling being.”
    -Einstein

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“Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit. The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal. Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it.”

  • Einstein

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“In Nature all are alive and all are
free. The earthly glory of man is an
empty dream, vanishing with the bubbles in the rocky stream.”

  • Kahlil Gibran

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“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”
-Aleister Crowley

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Dig and ascribe meaning to existence.

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Life is an adventure – a hunt for meaning.
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“To say more while saying less is the secret of being simple.”
Dejan Stojanovic.
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“Arid lanscapes bring on big thoughts. A mental aerate of sorts. Life stripped out to reveal the world’s bones, the ancient geology of rock and sand highlighting the puny nature of our joy, our sorrow.”

– Pippa de Bruyn
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“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. ”
― Rumi
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What are you willing to suffer for? Find out. It is your destiny.

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“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness. Just make the world  a little bit better than before you were born.
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We  are not meant to do what we  love. We are meant to do what we are skilled at.

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We have to do what we have to give.

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Our inborn skills are our  destiny. We should unleash them.

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