Aristotle claimed that happiness is the only thing that humans desire for its own sake. We seek riches, he argued, not because we desire wealth but because we believe money will make us happy. We seek fame, not for the sake of being famous but because we believe celebrity status is a means for achieving happiness.
Yet so many people are unhappy. In fact, clinical depression is the leading cause of disability in North America and is predicted by the World Health Organization to become the second leading cause of disability worldwide (after heart disease) by 2020.
Mother culture holds up an ideal for reaching happiness, claiming that any goal can be accomplished through hard work and determination. We call it the American dream. But it doesn’t seem to be working, and millions of people are coming to their senses, waking up and realizing that there’s something wrong with the way we’ve been living.
Unfortunately, we’ve learned to quiet the questions that bother us by removing silence from our lives. So we know something’s wrong, but we can’t or don’t take time to think about it.
Listen to the voice:
When it asks, “Who am I?” turn off the noise.
When it asks, “Why am I here?” stop what you’re doing.
When it asks, “What is the meaning of life?” listen.
“What’s it gonna take
to slow us down
to let the silence spin us around?” — Switchfoot
“And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
and do not even own clothing.” — Ezra Pound
We call it the American dream. But it doesn’t seem to be working.