Gnomicon 041

If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.

Gnomicon  041
Tuesday 10 Apr 2012

If we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.
Edith Wharton (24 Jan 1862 – 11 Aug 1937)

What I can say about happiness also applies to what I wish everyone would appreciate about a particular bête noire of mine:  self-esteem.

Thus, neither self-esteem nor happiness is – in Aristotelian terms – a τέλοϛ telos ‘result, end, purpose, point, goal’ actively sought.  You will no more ‘make it’ if you say to yourself, “My goal today is to be happy” than you will if you say to yourself, “Today I have as my end the fashioning of self-esteem.”

Nor will you ‘get there’ on the basis of somebody’s telling you that you should be happy and that you now deserve to feel self-esteem for whatever it is that you have or have not done.

No: each is achieved, to the extent that it is on any given occasion, not as the result of purposefully setting out to realize it but as the incidental byproduct of doing other things right.  For example, I utterly deplore the self-esteem movement that appears in our day to have invaded so many territories from which it ought to be kept at a sanitized distance: the third-grade art class, the overcoming of a deficit you have recognized in yourself, your very own special uniqueness, …

Just do whatever it is you’re doing, for somebody else less fortunately situated than you are, to the best of your ability and with a bit of enthusiasm and, I would venture, it will be vouchsafed you to “have a pretty good time”!

cf. 13


     002    003     004     005     006     007     008     009     010     011     012     013     014     015     016     017      018     019     020     021      022     023     024     025     026    027     028     029     030     031     032     033     034      035    036     037      038    039     040

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One Response to Gnomicon 041

  1. julie601 says:

    Right – you can’t seek and find happiness. It’s like an elusive butterfly in a garden. You can’t catch it but if you sit quietly it may come and land on your shoulder. Julie

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