My previous post raises two obvious questions. How do we get happiness? And what does it mean to lead a human, a noble life?
The Books of Moses in the Bible hint in an amusing way at the answer. The children of Israel, having groaned under the lash of the Egyptians in slavery for generations, are liberated by God. God puts forth his hand and rescues the Israelites from slavery, revealing “wonders” beyond imagination as he does so. He leads them through the wilderness, providing food and and driving off whole armies along the way, before arriving at a land flowing with milk and honey. God gifts this bountiful land to the children of Israel, promising to be with them in their trials and to drive out before them their enemies, if they will just walk in the ways of God, ie, live a noble life. And how do the Israelites show their gratitude for such miracles, such gifts? They do nothing but “murmur” and whinge and rebel against Him at every opportunity, every step of the way! Even if we were liberated from our daily grind and granted the whole universe, it seems, the human response would be to get bored with it and demand another one.
If happiness is not to be found in getting what we want, but in living a good life, how then are we to do that? It’s hard to think of a better or more concise answer than that offered by Tolstoy in his short parable, “Three Questions”. Please do have a quick read of it here. But if those few hundreds words are too much for you, you lazy dogs, just two capture it perfectly. Only connect.–Stuart