Author Topic: Do you agree with Thoreau?  (Read 24121 times)

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2006, 08:49:20 pm »
"One thing all happy people share is that they all had taken a very significant risk in their lives." - Gail SHeehy, Passages

I just thought this was an interesting quote.

It is interesting.  I'm not sure I buy it though.  I keep thinking of people in very small villages now and in the past...who never did anything really 'risky'.  They planted their crops and lived quiet lives out in the middle of nowhere and were farmers/herders like their father's father's father.  Were none of them ever happy because they led peaceful but mundane lives?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2006, 08:58:11 pm »
I think that depends on how you define happiness. One of the chapters in my book is called The Pursuit of Happiness, and the meditation actually distinguishes actual happiness from contentedness. Happiness lacks, as the philosophers say, a teleological identity. We use the word frequently but noone can really agree on what it is.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2006, 04:31:17 pm »
THere's a new book called "Stumbling on Happiness" that looks very interesting and that I am planning on acquiring on this subject:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400042666/104-7623137-7140759?v=glance&n=283155
It goes into the surprising origins of happiness.
And guess who wrote it, a man by the name of Daniel ! (Gilbert)
May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2006, 11:32:18 am »
I find myself ruminating over the pursuit of happiness again (or as my husband would say, I'm going through pms) and find this question and the discussion again very relevant. I would like to discuss this some more in preparation for our winter solstice celebration, whatever and whenever it might be.

May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2006, 11:21:17 pm »
I find myself ruminating over the pursuit of happiness again (or as my husband would say, I'm going through pms) and find this question and the discussion again very relevant. I would like to discuss this some more in preparation for our winter solstice celebration, whatever and whenever it might be.



Isn't happiness relative?

During the holiday season, ones thoughts turn to family and loved ones.

I think it was Jeff in another thread who mentioned how he likes to keep on the positive side of the holidays as he is a single gay man whose family is long gone or distant and to linger on thoughts of his situation would be negative and counterproductive.

I have tons of relatives.  None I consider close.  My family isn't Norman Rockwell and is never going to be.  Almost any large family gathering has a cloud hanging over it - relatives who have secrets, who have led double lives, long standing and unending feuds, things unsaid, hidden away and simmering.

Once my mother passes away, it will not pain me to move out of state and away from these people and never see them again.

I've just come in from hanging out with a friend of mine.  We went to go see a new house she is leasing, dinner and a movie.  This will be her 5th Xmas away from her family.

She has a choice of spending Xmas with her family or spending it alone. 

Due to her family history, she chooses to be alone, though that hardly brings her any joy.  But she chooses it because at least it causes her little pain.

Sometimes joy is defined as the absence of pain.

Her home life was a psychological and sometimes physically abusive mind fuck as a child.  We sat together listening to Xmas music and she recalled how one particular carol brings up childhood memories because her step father and grandfather were beating her with belts while it was playing in her home. 

Currently her mother and father, step father et al live very comfortably in the river of Denial and wonder why my friend doesn't visit her family more often as family is so important and she's just ruining it for everyone else.   >:(

She lives two states away from her nearest relative.

We discussed if it was better to spend Xmas alone because you had no family you wished to be around or if it was worse to spend time with your family at Xmas knowing it will never be the wonderful loving occasion full of fun that you so dearly wish it to be.

We didn't have any answers.

So we both choose to be happy in ourselves as best we can, knowing that no one outside of us is ever going to bring joy to us.

My father and my aged cat died in the same year during the holiday season.  Around this time of year, since it is Solstice and I'm a theist, I think about death and rebirth and the afterlife.  You always hear and want to believe stories of going on after death and the joy it will bring when you 'meet loved ones' who have passed before you.

At this point in my life, I wonder who that might be.

If you don't ever feel close or are close to anyone in this life, you wonder how any afterlife will be any better.  So you choose to make yourself happy in this life and not worry about anything else, but I can't say that 'happiness' is the giddy joy everyone thinks of when they hear that word.

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2006, 07:34:32 pm »
Del, I just read through your post, and I realize how lucky I am to have family members with whom I am close, who I know love me and who I love. There is definitely dysfunction in my family (what family isn't at least a little dysfunctional?), but there's enough sanity and compassion there to instill in us a sense of shared community and destiny.

I think there's a difference between happiness and contentment. Happiness isn't merely the absence of pain or sorrow--to my mind, there's a connotation of exaltedness, a joy that transcends the everyday (though everyday pleasures can be the source of much happiness). I'm not even sure that happiness, in the sense that I'm thinking of it, is an emotion that could be sustained on a regular and frequent basis. It is like little refreshing sips of nirvana in a world enmeshed in suffering, or, less dramatically, complacency. Contentment is often good enough, and is definitely worth striving for. Perhaps true happiness can be our enduring lot when we are free from the material constraints of our bodily existence. It's an interesting, perhaps even comforting thought.

What is happiness? What is love? How is a life well lived to be measured? These are ostensibly simple questions which are truly confounding, and lie at the very heart of what it means to be human. 

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2006, 10:10:15 pm »
Del, I just read through your post, and I realize how lucky I am to have family members with whom I am close, who I know love me and who I love.

You are very fortunate.

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I think there's a difference between happiness and contentment. Happiness isn't merely the absence of pain or sorrow--to my mind, there's a connotation of exaltedness, a joy that transcends the everyday (though everyday pleasures can be the source of much happiness).   I'm not even sure that happiness, in the sense that I'm thinking of it, is an emotion that could be sustained on a regular and frequent basis. It is like little refreshing sips of nirvana in a world enmeshed in suffering, or, less dramatically, complacency.

I agree completely.  Perhaps the wording in my post wasn't as precise as it should have been.   :P

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Contentment is often good enough, and is definitely worth striving for.

I think it must be.

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Perhaps true happiness can be our enduring lot when we are free from the material constraints of our bodily existence. It's an interesting, perhaps even comforting thought.

It is.  That's how I deal with it.  I think of the most perfect life I ever wanted and that's what I look forward to having.

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What is happiness? What is love? How is a life well lived to be measured? These are ostensibly simple questions which are truly confounding, and lie at the very heart of what it means to be human. 

Well said.

injest

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2006, 12:19:56 am »
my favorite quote that explains happiness:

What is happiness? To have achieved one's longings, yes.But also when all one's mind and body are stretched to breaking, when one hasn't a thought beyond what to do next moment; one looks back after, and there it was."

I think sometimes happiness is not something we live in but what we remember? A culmanation of experience??

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2006, 09:38:19 am »
That's beautiful, Jess. Who wrote it, do you recall?
May 2019 be better for us all.

injest

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2006, 09:56:17 am »
Mary Renault