Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Purpose of Life is to be Happy

That's what the Dalai Lama says anyways, that the purpose of life is to be happy.

Do you think that's true?

Sounds a bit simplistic doesn't it? But is happiness really that simple, and if happiness is simple, wouldn't everybody be happy?

Maybe happiness itself is easy, but getting there is what's difficult. Kind of like learning to ride a bike, where at first it seems difficult, but once you finally get the hang of it, it becomes the easiest thing in the world, seemingly effortless, like floating on air. Maybe it's the same thing with happiness.

Still, when I hear it said that the purpose of life is to be happy, I have my doubts. My initial response to this seemingly simple answer, is no, that can't be right, while happiness is certainly important, it's not the most important thing in the world, is it?

I guess it's because I associate happiness with pleasure, and pleasure with idleness, and idleness with laziness, and laziness with being on permanent vacation, and being on permanent vacation with being blissfully ignorant.

And I associate being blissfully ignorant with being doped up, like a zombified robot in a constant state of physical ecstasy, but totally unthinking and unproductive, a slave to your ecstasy, rather than being free and in control of your own consciousness, in control of your own life and destiny.

So I guess I associate pleasure with ignorance.

Wow, that would explain a lot.

But that's not the kind of happiness I'm looking for. I don't want to be blissfully ignorant. To me, ignorance is pain. Ignorance is slavery.

I want to be free.

I associate freedom with knowledge, creativity, and independence.

So when asked, 'What is the purpose of life?' my initial response would be, that the purpose of life is to learn, to become more knowledgeable and wiser, in order to ultimately improve the social conditions of the world.

To improve myself, so I can improve the world.

Three decades into my life, I'm still saying that, still learning, meanwhile bills have to be paid, and I haven't the money to pay them. Whatever.

Anyways, I've been exploring these ideas for over twenty years now, and in all that time I've pretty much been answering the question the same way - that the purpose of life is to learn - that it is knowledge and wisdom that I seek - but I'm realizing now that may not be a universal purpose.

It very well may be that the Dalai Lama is quite correct in saying that the purpose of life is to be happy.

The purpose of life is to be happy, but what it means to be happy, means different things to different people.

In my case, it means knowledge and wisdom. Or more specifically, it means freedom and enlightenment obtained through knowledge and wisdom.

Or in other words, it means that I am most happy when I am learning. That in order to be happy I must continue learning, I must continue expanding my depth of knowledge and wisdom. Because when I'm not learning, when I'm not being stimulated mentally and creatively, I become very unhappy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your purpose in life is to be happy. You were created to experience ultimate joy and pleasure, because through this way and this way only, your Creator experience the same.