Common thinking in life is that it is driven by the search for
happiness. John Locke, a renowned english philosopher of the 17th century, said:"The ultimate quality of
an intellectual life lies in pursuit of genuine and sustainable happiness." Thomas Jefferson riffed on
this while writing on "unalienable rights" when he wrote-"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that
all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" in the American declaration of
Yet there's much more in life than pleasure & pleasure, Emily Esfahani Smith wrote in The Atlantic. Dr. Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist, neurologist and survivor of Auschwitz, gained remarkable fame for his book-Man's Search for Meaning. Frankl served in the Nazi prison camps as a psychiatrist-and he was intrigued by the desire to carry on in situations where no hope seemed to exist. Smith cites two of his fellow inmates as examples. There was no hope for them like the others in the prison, just the depressive daily routine and an early death. Yet they soldiered on. For one man it was his young child's thought of living in a foreign country that kept him going. The other man was a research scientist; his reason to live was a set of books he wanted to complete before he died.
InSmith quotes Frankl:"This uniqueness and singularity which distinguishes each of us and gives meaning and purpose to our lives has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. A man who becomes conscious of the response sibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life."
Essentially, people define happiness as having good wellbeing, employment, and stability is feeling' healthy.' But it is the definition of a "taker." "Happy people enjoy receiving benefits from others while people who lead meaningful lives enjoy giving to others," says Kathleen Vohs, one of the authors of a recent happiness report. And sometimes it is more important to have a meaningful existence than just being happy.
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