READ THE INTRODUCTION
This Home Page of the Philosophy of Happiness website briefly describes the above-stated mission and its motivations:
Countless theories of happiness publicized and practiced over the span of human existence prove how much humanity yearns for happiness. But how much happier has following any of them made us? And how much do their authors or proponents know or bother about what makes us happy? All kinds of authorities have been so busy trying to sell us on their ideas, recipes, and plans for happiness - and we have been so preoccupied finding answers from them - that asking us about our notions of happiness may strike them and us as an odd proposition.
We have been conditioned or conditioned ourselves to believe against overwhelming evidence that others know more about our happiness than we possibly can. And instead of blaming their concepts for not working out, we have been flogging ourselves for not following the right ones or not following them well enough. Or we blame circumstances outside of us for not allowing concepts we have adopted to be adequately implemented. We keep ignoring the risks and failures of taking someone else's word for what makes us happy and how to attain or keep it - and how much our happiness should matter.
Even if we do not subscribe to any of the creeds of happiness presented to us, their systematic coverage and insistence that we need their guidance may discourage us from forming or pursuing alternatives of our own. They may leave us deeming ourselves incapable of putting up anything close to their breadth and depth of consideration, or incapable of competing with their influences over our circumstances.
This patronization and corresponding deference have caused and are continuing to cause great damage and misery to humans, humanity, and our environment beyond.
It is high time to change that. It is time we empower ourselves to think, feel, and determine more for ourselves what our attitudes, principles, and practices for a good life, what our philosophy of happiness is and should be. Due to our conditioning, such self-confidence may seem preposterous and even heretical to many. But if we dare to look at the nature of happiness and how it moves us, we grasp not only that we can, but that we must, take charge.
True progress toward happiness can only be made if we realize what makes us happy and then realize what makes us happy. The reasons for this are simple: We differ from one another in who we are and in our circumstances. What we need and want and how we intend and are able to get it may therefore differ as well. And these parameters may change as our needs and wishes are open or satisfied and as they, our other characteristics, our circumstances, and with them our experiences, develop. Our dispositions and pursuits lead to distinct chains of factual results and experiences of happiness and unhappiness for each of us. They create individual settings, paths, and implements - and different views on objectives and how they may be attained or maintained. Happiness is thus bound to have changing and diverse meanings and means for each of us. And every experience affecting our happiness joins the accumulation, amalgamation, and state of other emotions.
All this makes happiness a deeply personal phenomenon. Only we can feel what makes us happy at or for any given time, including how it makes us happy and how happy it makes us. Only we can perceive and understand this in sufficiently competent detail to determine where we are and where if anywhere we need to go with our happiness. This means that we have the right, but also the duty to ourselves, to define and walk our own path through life, to take control of our happiness by having it guide us. We may benefit from suggestions provided by others, but the decision whether and how to apply them must be up to our considered judgment if we are to keep control of ourselves - and if we are to remain free to be ourselves.
Of course, we have much in common with other humans generally and with some in more particular aspects. We therefore share and can share much in our quest to secure and improve our existence and the existence of what we hold dear. One of these commonalities is that we each are unique persons who wish to unfold our potentials and be loved and respected in our identities. These commonalities, even where we differ, create multitudes of opportunities for us to join, complement, and advance one another. Constructive connections and combinations develop as helpful or essential elements of individual pursuits. The rational and emotional communal bonds they build organically can be expected to be stronger than any impositions. As a result, associations of individuals and humanity in general stand to greatly benefit from the liberation of individuals to find, define, and pursue their happiness.
And when we look closely, happiness reveals itself as the supreme organizational principle not only for individual humans, groups of humans, and humanity but for all of nature. This insight, and the insight that humans can ultimately only succeed as part of nature's concerns, open essential pathways toward human prosperity and survival on an individual and collective level. Like all universal principles once they are understood, the principle of happiness is elegantly simple and offers clear guidance on wellbeing in harmony with it.
Yet, to be effective, this guidance must relate to our particular characteristics, experiences, and circumstances. My work assists readers in this vital undertaking without presuming or suggesting what makes them happy. I am careful about this with good reason.
Even with the best intentions, others can only guess what makes us happy. They are relegated to drawing parallels or distinctions to their own parameters of happiness, either by assumption or observation. This undertaking is further hampered if they do not have a clear understanding of their happiness. And if they do, chances are they will be too intricately involved in pursuing their happiness to have much focus or time left to figure out ours. These obstacles of knowledge and attempts to make sense of our happiness by making sense of theirs cause limited understanding and all too often misunderstandings.
Further, others might not care about, or might oppose, our happiness. They might only give it attention if they think it can assist them in their pursuit of what they deem makes them happy. They intentionally or unwittingly might attempt to convince us that furthering their pursuits will also propel ours. They might try to hide their agenda by telling us that their exclusive or foremost concern is our happiness and that we are advancing them as a mere means to our objectives. Those of us who do not have a firm grasp of their happiness might be vulnerable to such influences or even seek their leadership. They stand to miss out on realizing, in both meanings of the word, their own conceptions of happiness.
These potentials and likelihoods require great circumspection and self-control in giving and taking guidance on matters of happiness. All I can, or anybody could, legitimately contribute to the happiness of others is offer assistance in their process of self-realization. The violation and abdication of this responsibility for individual self-realization, from both the giving and receiving sides, constitute the original sin of humankind. The continual failure to acknowledge and value individuality and to trust and promote its unfolding prevents the potentials of individual and collective human happiness from taking flight. It literally keeps us from coming into our own. And the resulting contrivances make us disregard and mistreat ourselves, others, and our non-human surroundings.
The intent of my work is therefore to support individuals in exploring, developing, and implementing their own concepts of happiness. Toward this purpose, I take readers through journeys of inquiry through common themes and aspects of human existence so they might confirm or recognize the state and conditions of their happiness and derive actionable insights.
My motivation for this undertaking originated in a need to find answers for myself. In this process, I noticed that the subject of happiness involves dimensions and affairs far beyond my immediate concerns that intensely reflect on these concerns. I would like to share these insights so readers can determine their validity and how they might apply to them in maintaining or improving their existence.
I also would like to help humanity diminish and master its challenges, many of which originate from unreflected, shortsighted, forced, or misguided attitudes and pursuits. Only people who are curbed or deluded in their happiness, or ignorant of it, resort to strategies inflicting unnecessary disturbances and suffering. Happy people and those who understand happiness abhor strife, abuse, and destruction. They practice goodwill, love, healing, forgiveness, mutual support, and cooperation wherever they can. I wish I and everybody were surrounded by more such people. But the reality of the world is widespread torment of many kinds caused by unhappiness and perplexity about how to address it. I want to help mend this deficiency for my and everybody's sake, for future generations, and for the preservation and advancement of the precious nature of which we partake. This is my mission. It is the purpose of all my books, presentations, articles, and this website.
My work is directed to the vast majority of humans, but not everybody. It exclusively focuses on individuals in full possession of commonly available faculties that enable them to form well-considered objectives and pursuits. It does not address people who are temporarily or permanently impaired in such faculties as a matter of developmental or pathological shortcomings or for other reasons. Such persons may do well relying on others to supplement and possibly prescribe vital or beneficial assistances, determinations, and activities. In some cases, the dysfunction caused by impairment may warrant being proscribed or otherwise addressed by compulsory measures. Regardless of what the impairments of the above-described commonly available faculties might be, they lie beyond the purview of my work and are left entirely to otherwise trained professionals.
Finally, let me suggest some entries to the content of this website. The Directory section contains a brief site orientation. As a general primer on the subject of Philosophy of Happiness in philosophy, empiric science, religion, and self-help, I recommend my article "Philosophy of Happiness: A Critical Introduction." And you can read a summary of my approach to assist readers in exploring, developing, and implementing their own philosophies in the Book section. Or take a more leisurely approach with some of my essays in the Philosophic Reflections section or quotes and poems of the Knowing Series. If you would like to know more about me, please have a look at the Publicity section. The FAQ, Blog, and Forum sections contain further information about me, my work, and topics it touches. You can also watch me talk about these subjects on the Philosophy of Happiness YouTube Channel.
I hope you find my work stimulating and helpful. It is independently generated and published at great personal sacrifice. Its success depends in large part on personal referrals from readers like you. So if you like my work or think it deserves consideration, I would appreciate your telling others. Sharing buttons are located at the top of each page.
Thank you and best wishes,
To assist you in exploring, developing, and implementing your own concepts of happiness
© 2013-2021 BY MARTIN JANELLO