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The first and worst lie

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Joseph Pearce - published on 06/12/23

It is hardly surprising that all sorts of people are trying to sell us happiness

Everyone wants to be happy. It’s part of our very nature. It is as though we are hard-wired to desire happiness, wanting it more than anything else. Since this is so, it is hardly surprising that all sorts of people are trying to sell us happiness, or at least the promise of happiness. If we buy this product or choose this lifestyle, we will be happy. Or so we are told. So we are promised.

The problem is that this desire for happiness has been poisoned by the idea that we can find happiness by “doing our own thing.”

We are told that doing what we want, or what we think we want, will make us happy. This is a lie. It is the first and worst of lies. It is, however, and tragically, a lie that most of us believe until we find out the hard way that we have been deceived. We come to understand, usually too late, that there are two ways of discovering that the path of selfishness does not make the selfish person happy. The better way is to listen to the wisdom of the ages, as taught by the wisdom of the sages. The other way is to live selfishly, doing our own thing, until we realize that doing our own thing makes us miserable.

Like many people, like most people, I was motivated as a young man by the pride that seeks self-empowerment. I did what I wanted when I wanted. This meant using and abusing other people to gratify my own desires. Instead of sacrificing myself for others, which is the meaning of love, I sacrificed others for myself, which is the absence of love. In choosing the absence of love, we find ourselves loveless. It is then that we discover that lovelessness is loneliness.  

In making ourselves the god of our own pathetic microcosmos, we are shown that the god of me-myself-and-I is the loneliest of all false gods. 

No, doing our own thing does not make us happy. It’s a lie. 

The truth is that the happiness we seek cannot be found unless we stop “doing our own thing” and start doing things for others. This is because true happiness is inseparable from true love, which is the sacrifice of the self for others. 

~

This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

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The Human Being Fully Alive
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