Ah, more general pondering.
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” What on earth did Jefferson mean? Where is happiness? How can I pursue it if I haven’t a clue of its general direction?
“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness”, Victor Frankl
What? Is this a trick statement? Like the impossibility of holding water? Is it simply a word play that also allows the word “thwarts” to be used in a sentence, satisfying millions of Scrabble players? Or is it a comment from a Holocaust survivor, surveying his inner most thoughts, the core of what matters and what makes sense?
Making sense of things… Is happiness the result of making sense of things?
Pursuit of happiness is the heart of our American Revolution. John Locke’s famous trinity is “life, liberty, and property”. Thomas Jefferson turns it around, almost poetically substituting “pursuit of happiness” for property. What other government includes this as a reason for formation?
Jefferson may have stumbled upon another Locke comment, “the necessity of pursuing happiness is the foundation of Liberty”. Note that he does not say attaining happiness.
So… it is the pursuit that is important, but not the attainment?
Here it comes, the IMHO statement.
Happiness is like the wind. We can’t touch it, we can only see it by the effects of its presence, but we can be enveloped in it. It is a spirit, like the wind. Or maybe the state of happiness is not the intent?
Pursuing, or chasing happiness, is like chasing the wind. It is never accomplished. Perhaps Jefferson understood this. It is only the journey that is promised in his declaration, and in the journey there is refinement, understanding, and perhaps wisdom.
Ok, I may not be happy. But I am happily on the way to happiness.