Friday, December 28, 2012


  The following essay is on happiness by William Lyon Phelps. I think he makes a lot of good points and because we are all interested in achieving more happiness, I took the liberty to write a somewhat lengthy piece. Phelps is a Christian author and I'm reading his book titled "Human nature and the Gospels," This pieced comes from Lillian W. Watson's book, "Light from many lamps."

 "Real happiness is not dependent on external things, he taught his students. The pond is fed from within. The kind of happiness that stays with you is the happiness that springs from inward thoughts and emotions. You must think of this now, while you are young. You must cultivate your mind if you wish to achieve enduring happiness. You must furnish your mind with interesting thoughts and ideas. An empty mind seeks pleasure as a substitute for happiness. 

 The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts.

  This definition places happiness where it belongs -- within and not without. The principle of happiness should be like the principle of virtue: it should not be dependent on things, but be a part of personality.....
  If the happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts we are bound to grow happier as we advance in years, because our minds have more and more interesting thoughts. A well ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better than the view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands. 
  Herein lies the real value of education. Advanced education may or may not make men and women more efficient; but it enriches personality, increases the wealth of the mind, and hence brings happiness. It is the finest insurance against old age, against the growth of physical disability, against the lack and loss of animal delights. No matter how many there may be in our family, no matter how many friends we may have, we are in a certain sense forced to lead a lonely life, because we have all the days of existence to live with ourselves. How essential it is, then, in youth to acquire some intellectual or artistic tastes, in order to furnish the mind, to be able to live inside a mind with attractive and interesting pictures on the walls."

  In this practical piece he neglects the spiritual without which we can have all knowledge and still have no happiness or peace. I believe a clear conscience and a life of holiness and joyful service to Christ will bring a level of joy no earthly thoughts will ever attain. That being said, life needs balance and the more we expand and think on the noble, true, lovely, admirable or anything excellent or praiseworthy the greater happiness we attain. Now I dropped out of High School in my senior year and 'sought pleasure as a source of happiness' until I came to Christ; once I became a Christian and began to study the Bible I began the joy of learning and found all of life: people, nature, beauty, the arts were all enhanced by my spiritual walk. The "narrow way" broadens all the senses and as I self-taught myself I find this essay resonates with my experience.


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