is happiness oversold?

I am definitely stuck on this theme, if you remember what I wrote on June 12 and July 29 and September 10.  Back in June, I had suggested that you visit the rabbit hole going here, but I’ll quote it since I think it’s so valuable:

“The great problem in the United States
is not repression or neurosis, which it was in Europe
when Freud wrote about everything.

No, the great problem here is not repression.
It’s narcissism and addiction.

Those are our great problems in the United States
because Tommy Jefferson set us up.
‘Life, Liberty, and the… Pursuit of Happiness!’

If you pursue happiness directly,
it evades you.

But you feel entitled to it…

It’s wonderful, but it has a dark side.
And the dark side is addiction.
Addiction. We have done a dance with addiction
in this country from the very beginning.”

– Dr. Richard D. Grant

Going down a few different rabbit holes led me today to an article rating job happiness, and lo and behold!  Clergy is #1!  But if you look carefully, or really not so carefully, even though it is titled “Best Happiness”, the article does say “most satisfying”.

According to a new study, the secret to career fulfillment is finding a job that involves helping others — and staying away from manual labor.

Okay!  Now that’s more like it!  Or like what I think should be what people should be writing about and suggesting to others to pursue.  But then again, this study lists teacher at #6…

Yes, it’s great to feel like you are helping others.  But

(is there always a but?)

there has to be reinforcement of a strong kind.  Usually in the Western World, that’s called money.  And they don’t go hand-in-hand, so what else can we offer for feedback?  Maybe being too busy to have time to think about such things, along the lines of the Dvar Torah I mentioned yesterday.  After all, if you don’t sleep because you have to get up so early for Selichot, your brain can’t recharge itself enough to have such thoughts.  So I guess it becomes a What Me Worry/Ignorance is Bliss syndrome.

So how come the philosopher is up there in the happiness scale?



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