Happiness? What is happiness? How can humankind achieve happiness? Is it even possible for humankind to achieve happiness, or is it just an illusion?
There are three types of joy: pleasure, which is emotional; happiness, which is materialistic; and joy, that is psychological. Therefore, happiness is very easy to achieve, but the most difficult and most important is joy. The difference between joy and pleasure is that pleasure is fulfilled by one’s surroundings, while joy can be attained through knowledge, love, and beauty. Moods and emotions, come and go, but joy lasts forever because it is not caused by anything or anyone, but by one’s spirit.
In Ancient Egyptian Religion, harmony and peace are reached through the gods’ happiness. When the gods favor a person, it is known that they have followed Ma’at or truth, justice, and order. When a person dies, it is believed that they can not meet their afterlife, until they survive the underworld that consists of dangerous trials and demons. In the afterlife, a person has all their riches, food, clothing, and entertainment buried with them to enjoy for the rest of their life, but do all religions believe in eternal serenity?
Buddhism allows harmony to be achieved through a person’s own free will, and their ability to attain Nirvana, which is a state where there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. Tranquility can also be discovered through “seeing the world for the first time. The world was beautiful, strange, and mysterious. Here was blue, here was yellow, here was green, sky and river, woods and mountains, all beautiful, all mysterious, and enchanting…” (Siddhartha pg.39) The splendor of the world is magical and almost holy to the senses, but many people lose sight of this, to their “goal.” People believe that striving towards a goal is the whole point of life, and once achieved there is either another goal to move towards, or that life is almost over.
Many believe that the feeling of completeness and perfection is only attained by the suffering of the flesh, which will help them redeem their spirit and mind. “I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing myself, I wished to destroy myself.” While, others believe that this feeling is achieved through ignoring the spirit, and satisfying the flesh. The last individuals take care of their spirit and body.
Laughter and harmony were achieved through the conquering of fears and enemies in the movie Seven Samurai. Peasants lived in a miserable, fearful lifestyle to the point where they wanted to die. With their whole world revolving around social classes, it was hard to find themselves help, until they crossed the path with a kind-hearted soul. He helped them, risked his life, and fought their battles as if they were his own, forgetting about his higher class. He believed that “War is not won alone” (Seven Samurai), and that by protecting and helping each other, one day they would conquer and laugh together.
Humankind may achieve happiness. But, is that what one wants in life, or is it joy that one seeks?