Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Part 3: Happiness vs Joy

This is the third and last of a three part series on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, wrapping up with happiness. Coming from the first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, these inalienable rights for all make up the foundation of our society. Not to be viewed as an ancient scroll but a living manifesto of the U.S., it is something that any shade of American can hold as their own. Left or Right, all people in the melting pot can subscribe to this. The Constitution is what sets it in practice. While the Constitution has mechanisms to adapt to the times, its strength comes from being nearly timeless. It’s important to note that these rights are not given by man but by the Creator or for you atheists out there, nature. The point is still sound; the Founders recognized a truth, a truth that mankind’s basic rights are not subject to the will of those who hold power. These are your rights. You own them. The original entitlement. This is what makes us, U.S.. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them for yourself and those around you.

I’ve been chewing on happiness for a while. This has been the most difficult of the three rights to write upon. What is happiness? Merriam-Webster defines it as “feeling pleasure and enjoyment of life, situation, etc,”.  Ok, that’s easy to grasp. Happiness is a vague and general term that can change from one person to another. There is no doubt when you feel it. If I were to ask you if you could recognize when you feel happy, you wouldn’t hesitate to answer, “yes”. You know what it is.

Ask yourself this, are you happy now? When was the last time you felt happy? Are you happy often? Don’t you deserve to be happy?

Now seriously, think about that for a second. Really. How often do you think about the happiness in your life? Do you lack happiness or are you overflowing with it? Why is that for you? Do you know why? Do you know the root cause of your happiness or lack of?

Defining what happiness is, is the easy part. Finding and maintaining it is difficult. I would like to define happiness into two categories. The first is what I think many confuse with the second, and that is a shallow, self serving, “happy”. A materialistic and consuming happiness. It’s the feeling you get when you go shopping and grab a new pair of shoes, get likes on Instagram for that cute selfie, or even a first date. When I say shallow, I don’t mean it in a deragatory way, just simply, that it lacks depth. It’s fleeting, circumstantial, and momentary.

The second, is a profound, selfless, purpose driven joy. It’s Love or service to others without repayment. This one is expensive however. Not in money of course, it’s a different kind of currency. A currency of the soul. It requires that you pay in time, attention, and dedication. It requires growth and perseverance.

Happiness is something that has been written about since the start of time for us. We the people though have been losing sight of what that means and have been confusing the selfie happiness for selfless joy. American’s are notorious for consuming. We consume materials, things, money, time, and people.

An abundance of likes is not equal to abundant joy. This isn’t a tirade on the shallow happiness and by no means seek to avoid it. It happens all the time. Just recognize it for what it is. What I am advocating, is the pursuit of joy. Dive deeper than the whimsical happy. Get your hands dirty. Commit your heart. Suffer the pain that can come from the risk of opening your soul.

As a man of faith, I draw unending joy from the pursuit of the power of God and the blessings put upon me, like my family and fiancé. I highly recommend it but if you’re not there, simply looking up from the phone or beyond the mall could be a great step for you.

The Forefathers knew that happiness is different for all. You have the right to pursue it anyway you choose. Free will is an awesome thing. However as a man who has chased the cheap and moved towards the deep, I recommend taking the dive.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Part 1: The case for Life

This is the first of a three part series on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness starting with Life. Coming from the first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, these inalienable rights for all make up the foundation of our society. Not to be viewed as an ancient scroll but a living manifesto of the U.S., it is something that any shade of American can hold as their own. Left or Right, all people in the melting pot can subscribe to this. It’s important to note that these rights are not given by man but by the Creator or for you atheists out there, nature. The point is still sound; the Founders recognized a truth, a truth that mankind’s basic rights are not subject to the will of those who hold power. These are your rights. You own them. The original entitlement. This is what makes us, U.S.. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them for yourself and those around you.

Life. Everyone has one. If you don’t, well you’re not reading this. Life is the right that is listed first because every other right is mute without it. Life is important. You’re life matters to you and people around you. Self preservation is one of the most powerful instincts you have. You will do anything to protect your own and would not give it up for material possession. You would however give it up for another through acts of love or service so that another may live. As a society, we do not consider it a virtue to be suicidal and offer help to those in despair. Slavery and torture is despicable. Murder is wrong and punishable. We defend all living people’s right to succeed by providing services and education to support them. Life is priceless.

Humanity’s greatest accomplishments have come from life. As obvious as that sounds, it’s true. Works of art like, Michelangelo’s “Pieta” or Beethoven’s 9th symphony would not exist. Imagine if there was no Beethoven. You wouldn’t even know that he was missing of course but even if you don’t know his music his 9 symphonies influenced music beyond our knowing. Would rock and pop be the same today or exist at all?

On the other side, what would the world have been like without Adolph Hitler or World War II? Every interaction created because of him would be changed. The world today would be different. Pick anyone else of note. If they didn’t exist what would the world be like? Let’s bring it home. You celebrating your mom’s birthday or brother’s wedding wouldn’t happen if they didn’t exist. You wouldn’t exist if your mother or father didn’t meet. You would be someone else. Erase someone from your life for a minute and what would your life be like without them? Obviously simple but it comes to a point. Life matters personally and to the world and our world is crafted by the people who make it.

Somewhere along the line we have lost sight of this. We need to be reminded that life is important. Most important. When a person is missing we notice a gap in our life. While there are a number of topics surrounding this subject the greatest travesty against life in society today is the concept of abortion. The recent investigative videos released by the Center for Medical Progress about Planned Parenthood’s selling of unborn children’s parts for money is horrific for a number of reasons. 1. the killing of human life. 2. the disregard and lack of respect for those lives. 3. making said parts a commodity. If you don’t believe that life is present during abortions then the second two don’t really matter. I want to make the case for life.

Murder is a plague on society. Violence ruins not only the murdered but the families and communities around them. Civilizations developed mechanisms to combat it from capital punishment to right to defense laws. War is hell but it is understood that two opposing army’s will fight to death but when civilian casualties arise it is a total calamity. To murder innocents is often considered unforgivable. The foundation is laid and developed upon that no one has the right to take the life away from the innocent, however we miss the connection.

It is often said that unborn children are not fully human or alive. For those of you in the camp that people come from people and that people are not born from the dead, skip ahead because I’m preaching to the choir. For anyone else, please follow the logic. If what is formed at conception is neither human or alive, then what else is it? I haven’t heard of the global crisis of human’s delivering salamanders. There isn’t a time after conception where said growing human becomes a diamond either. 100% of babies don’t struggle with any other identity other than human.

That being said life starts at conception when two living human cells whose sole purpose is to create life combine to create, well, life. That’s simple science, not opinion. That newly formed human (zygote) is now beginning it’s growth to adulthood and death. Like every other human being. No one person develops outside of this pathway unless it’s cut short. So why is it called anything but? Population control, reproductive rights, rape and incest, and personal freedom are some of the rallying cry’s that opponents of life use to convince you that life is only for those privileged to see the light of day.

If life is so precious to those who have it and call any loss of innocent life a catastrophe, why is it so hard to make the connection that abortion is not something society should rally behind. Why do we feel the need to defend the cause for abortion so belligerently? Even if you have the right to abortion, why enjoy it and tout it as a noble attribute of society? Why are there no commercials on TV like the tobacco ads showing what abortion is or government funding and programs to show that babies are actually worth having? With only 1% of abortions being from rape, why doesn’t the 99% take responsibility and have respect for the powerful act that creates life? Why does that same 99% not think a person unable to defend and speak for itself is worth granting the basic right of Life to? Why does the federal government recognize and protect bald eagle eggs, pre-birth, and not human life pre-birth?

Difficult questions to ask. Difficult questions to read. Difficult questions to break open. We don’t even know who we are missing because of the toll abortion has had on society. Over 57 million since 1973 willingly given up. How many Pieta’s have we missed out on? Who was in that number and what would have been their names?

If you haven’t seen the videos, see them below.

First Center for Medical Progress video

Full length unedited version

Second Center for Medical Progress video

Third Center for Medical Progress video

Abortion stats – http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html

Abortion stats – http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/