On the Nature of Things
You will remember my tough times with the Tiger cub kid that I described to you a couple of weeks ago. Squirrels are happy by being good squirrels and doing what squirrels are supposed to do / Humans are happy by being good human beings and by doing the things that humans are supposed to do.
There are so many opinions about what happiness is and in what our happiness consists. What about even this opinion that our happiness consists in actions? If we were in agreement with the squirrel / human analogy, have we realized that even to say that happiness consists in being good and acting well register as different from the normal run-of-the-mill answers?
Happiness does not consist in having good things, but it consists primarily in doing good actions. You and I are happy to the extent that we do things that are conducive to happiness. Our actions and moral choices either make us happy or they dissatisfy. As I think about it, this is itself a point that might be foreign for many of our co-workers except when they are at their most lucid.
It was easy to grasp with the squirrel, and it is harder to grasp for us. The back-and-forth with the tiger cub made this much clearer. But it is clear, isn’t it, that having whatever we want and even doing whatever we want does not, in fact, make us happy, but rather, more often than not leads to our frustration? There are many Hollywood and sports figures that we might introduce here as proof of the point.
So if having good things is not what makes us happy. And even doing whatever we want does not make us happy, then we will have to select to do what is to be done and what is not to be done in order for us to be happy. Once again, we are back at this difficulty of discerning whatis good for us, that is, what will make us happy.
RCIA: RCIA will continue this Thursday, September 10 at 6:00 in the rectory.