The Pursuit of Happiness

As an alumnus of Johns Hopkins University, I receive a copy of Johns Hopkins Magazine every quarter.  It is an informative periodical, chock full of articles on everything from medical breakthroughs to social phenomenon.  The Fall 2010 edition is particularly good, dealing with the topic of happiness. I was drawn to the articles related to politics.  Without comment, I have provided the links below to some fascinating reading.  Just enjoy.

“Can Democrats and Republicans Agree on Anything?”

http://magazine.jhu.edu/2010/09/the-big-question-can-democrats-and-republicans-agree-on-anything/

“Happy Face, Glad Hand”

This is an article on the general misery of politicians:

http://magazine.jhu.edu/2010/09/happy-face-glad-hand/

Lastly, in the magazines small section titled “Quote, Unquote”, I found the following:

As much as we owe the nature of our current existence to the evolutionary forces Darwin first discovered, or the cultures we grow up in, or to the chemical states affecting our brain processes at any given moment, none of this impacts on our freedom. I am free because neither science nor religion can ever tell me, with certainty, what my future will be and what I should do about it. The dictum from Sartre gets it exactly right: I am condemned to freedom. I am not free because I can make choices, but because I must make them, all the time, even when I think I have no choice to make.

—William Egginton, professor in the humanities at the Krieger School, quoted in The New York Times’ Opinionator blog, 07.25.10.

When I speak About President Obama and the popularity pitfalls he has encountered in his first eighteen months in office, this quote becomes so relevant.  Freedom can be confining and the right to make choices carries with it great responsibility and often, unhappiness.  However, the alternative to freedom is an even deeper hell.

All three of these items I have cited remind us that everything has a price, even happiness.  But it is precisely that journey, those choices, that make life worthwhile.

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