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Happiness Decoded

This is the first in the four series on happiness which shall attempt to provoke, invoke, evoke, and infuse the sum and substance of happiness.

Happiness is the primary human quest even as mankind progresses.

Progress happens when people buy things they do not need with the money they do not have.

Progress relies on creating desire that infuses demand to make you pay for what you do not need and sell you a loan to buy with money that is not yours which you then work your life to pay down. Progress in that sense is the metaphorical carrot or promise of happiness.

People either have poor desires or desires that make them feel poor.

Happiness is an arbitrage that settles somewhere between what one has and what one desires.

While it’s the search for happiness that people even wake up in the morning, at best they tend to find placebos to compensate for it even as that search remains quintessential and elusive.

I would like to begin by asking, “How much do we need and what for?” Therein ‘lies’ the ‘truth’

We have allowed the “cum hither” solicitations from hoardings to compensate our inability to have heartful conversations or libidinous enough orgasms and in that melee we have replaced happiness with pleasure. There is a difference between the two.

One of the hoardings sells; degreased, dehaired, dried and chemically dyed crocodile skin, in the form of bags and we loose the woods for the trees. Our lives become sweet custard full of pulp.

In that backdrop an eloquent philosophy that encompasses life is: Ikigai or ‘The Purpose of Life’, as the Japanese put it.

It is fashionable to evoke a response using foreign analogies, even as closer home our ancient texts and scriptures are enwrapped only in that: ‘Purpose of Life’.

In that backdrop, the challenge that our lives face is the slicing of our minds that has come about as an ode and an astute compliment to multi skilling. That sublime conspiracy has shortened our attention spans.

While slicing and cut pasting of media, news, social media and films is on, it keeps us running around musical chairs as if the music wont die.

Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes waxed on this:

 In "A Study in Scarlet," Dr. Watson the ADC to Sherlock, expresses surprise that

 Holmes is ignorant of Copernican theory and the composition of the solar

 system. Holmes explains that he does his best to forget any information that is

 not relevant to his existence.

 “You see” explains Sherlock, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little

 empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. It is a

 mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any

 extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge or

 piece of furniture you forget something that you knew before or remove something

 to make space.”

"But the Solar System!" Dr. Watson protested.

"What of the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently: "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my life.

 Isnt it true that the Copernican theory is useful to NASA and if it is needed, its

 available to be accessed. Lets free our minds and restrain whatsapp from sharing

 with us the secrets of spiders mating or the Seven Wonders of the World. These

 have nothing to do neither with the price of my onions nor with the room in my

 attic.

 So let the sun float in its trajectory and imagine that you split the cosmos into

 two equal halves from where you stand.

And from thereon as Shakespeare says, “way to dusty death. Life is but a poor player that struts and frets its hour upon the stage and then is heard no more”

However, as humans we are in search of an excuse to justify our existence. Our excuses range from new clothes, to the growth of our business to our families and our cars and estates and journeys.

These are momentary. Happiness is beyond this.

These are tangibles and our thirst for more does not quench as we find ourselves drawn into a self-hypnosis or social media to seek validation for our pursuits.

That spiral is like a whirlwind that nearly consumes us with the intensity of a tornado as we get sucked into its vortex. We end up in all that brouhaha in search of that resting place by the sea side or on a sunny mountain top.

It is at that tipping point that a question assumes significance, “How much do we need and whatever for”. Wrapped in that question lies Ikigai and therefore the mantra of happiness.

If a person can answer that question, there is a good chance that she or he has taken the first step forward in exacting their lives. Identifying a holistic purpose of life that involves health, peace, family, a limited social circle and an ability to give that are more likely to lead to a sound sleep that accounts for a joyful and happy life. Answering that question will reveal the next expanse of Happiness.

The eventual purpose of life is to seek happiness and while that does take running around, answering that question above has the potential of stopping our mindless chase and cutting our self hypnosis ranging from the hoardings and the running around the musical chairs.

I bring to you the last words from four people that we think tasted success. Each of these four strokes, much like cornerstones of evolving humanity and sensibility had their last words that denounce their own existence.

“I am bored with it all” – Winston Churchill “Money cant buy life” – Bob Marley

“Friends applaud, the comedy is over” – Beethoven

Before we raise the curtains ahead on the other three essays that sum up invoking, evoking and infusing happiness, I append below the final note from Steve Jobs and a summing up at its end.

Wrote Steve, “I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.

At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.

Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth ...

Should be something that is more important:

Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days

Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.

God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.”

In summing up it suffices to say that even Steve jobs hadn’t achieved the purpose of his life or his Ikigai in his passing away. His mention of wealth alludes to his own final recognition of his own vain self hypnosis and failure with what the world would remember his products for a few more years at best.

Though, what about himself!

I shall deliver happiness as we delve deeper and remove one word away from Steve Job’s swansong, above: “Perhaps”.

I shall let this serve as a prelude to the other three essays where we shall

deconstruct and then reconstruct life and happiness. We shall also attempt to arrive at happiness and not leave it in the fog of what it means.

There will be no ‘perhaps’ and you will split the cosmos into two equal halves from where you stand.


While we shall take up evoking, invoking and infusing happiness in the next 3 essays, all the way to giving you a ready reckoner of happiness, I sign off here by provoking, “How much do we need and what for?”.


Tags assigned to this article:
Happiness Yogesh Kochhar

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