In Pursuit Of Contentment
Last updated 7/28/2021 at 2:18pm
The Declaration of Independence states that everyone has the right to pursue happiness. But is happiness something worth pursuing? Happiness means different things to different people. What makes one person happy may make another person miserable. Notice how happy people appear in commercials when they have purchased a new product. The commercial industry works hard to convince us that happiness comes as a result of the amount of material we can consume in a day, in acquiring more things and amassing more wealth. Success has become a measure of how much we can waste and throw away. But are we the consumers or are we being consumed by this illusion of happiness? The industrial revolution was praised as the revolution that would free us from certain labors that rob us of the time we could have enjoying life. Yet, as Mark Twain once said, it has “produced a thousand luxuries and turned them into necessities” blurring the distinction between need and want. What if we stopped pursuing this illusion of happiness and instead pursued contentment? What if we changed the Declaration of Independence to read “life, liberty and the pursuit of contentment?” Being content means being satisfied with what we have and knowing when enough is enough. Being content means taking good care of what we have and “living simply, so that others may live.”
The words of the song “Simple Gifts” remind us to strive for simplicity. The word, simple means literally “freedom from.” Think of it this way: Simplicity is freedom from the human rat race that keeps us chasing after more.