And I don’t mean the television series...
Freud found the pursuit of happiness to be a distraction from living. He felt that “it would be better to aim for something different: a type of life in which you do not need a fantasy of satisfaction in order to find being human an interesting and worthwhile experience”.
I learned this in John Gray’s The Silence of Animals, which is not a book for everyone. This requires a bit of thought, which is why the above quote caused me to think about the words of the US Constitution that “guarantee” the right to pursue happiness (left undefined). Of course, that was written long before Freund stirred up though and/or muddled human thinking. Many quote the Constitution; few have ever read Freud.
I do not recall ever consciously pursuing happiness. Mostly, I have been satisfied with my lot in life, which provides as mush “happiness” as I can handle.
I found the following words in John Gray’s The Silence of Animals:
“If there is anything unique about the human animal it is that it has the ability to grow knowledge at an accelerating rate while being chronically incapable of learning from experience.”
If anyone read my post, Evil People, of June 16th, these words ring true.
Each day, I check Arts and Letters Daily for interesting articles and links. I would not read this book reviewed below, but was attracted by the reviewer, who I respect. John Gray is one of the most intelligent writers I know. I have enjoyed and been impressed by his books, such as Straw Dogs. He was professor of European Thought (isn’t that a great title!) at the London School of Economics (who knew that economist thought!).
The book’s subject interested me, because it’s about something that shows up in some of my books. My take is certainly hot not as erudite and not in the least bit based upon scientific research. I wrote about what I observe and what I think. Morality, individual and group. play a major role in Flying’s Easy. After reading this, I find it easy to see why the main character did what he did, did not feel part of larger group, and did not betray the smaller one.
I was also attracted to the argument, which points out the failure of blaming human evolution of state of US politics. Mr. Gray hits a number of nails on their heads. But, his key conclusion is about the book. Too many people fall for fallacy presented in doubtful books, just because they are in a book.
“Looking to science for deliverance from the tragicomedy of history is part of what it means to be modern. The tracts that come and go in airport bookstores, promising solutions to problems that have baffled the greatest minds, are symptoms of a confusion that is incurable. We may expect many more books that offer to extricate us from conflict by sprinkling the magic dust of science on our disorders.”
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.