The two most neglected arts of life, deliberately avoided by almost everyone, are:

  1. How to be happy being alone
  2. How to be happy dealing with evil

They are also two of the most critical arts we need in this life.

Why does NOBODY teach these things?

Good guess: Nobody knows how.

Just think. If we knew those two arts, this world would be the next best thing to heaven on earth.


About Millard J. Melnyk

Motley past, promising future exploring an open, potent understanding of mutuality, individual dignity and personal power through trust. DEAUTHORITARIANIZE EVERYTHING!
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2 Responses to Happiness

  1. Shers says:

    ‘Nobody knows how’ isn’t the issue; rather, the issue is that it’s an abstract you cannot teach. Case in point: can you teach other abstracts like ‘love’, ‘peace’ and the like?
    No! You know it only by experiencing it. However, the concepts around it CAN be taught; and, if you agreed with me here we’d be in accord. ;~D

    • Hey Shers!

      I rarely listen to “cannot” for several reasons. “Cannot” eventually becomes “can” with the simple difference that someone figures out how. Statistically, “cannot” is a loser with a dismal track record. Few things that were “impossible” 200 years ago still are.

      That happens partly due to the single most important feature of human cognition: ignorance. We can’t judge the possibility of many things because we aren’t even aware of them. With a little familiarity about something, we tend to judge its possibilities in terms of other things that we know quite a bit about. The problem is, of course, that we can’t be sure how relevant what we know is to something that we barely know anything about. With something we don’t yet understand, chances are good that we are oblivious to most of the factors relevant to “can” or “cannot.”

      Love, peace, and the like are not abstracts. We feel them. The fruits of the Spirit are not abstracts. We experience them, and Paul and Jesus claimed that we can “bear” them as “fruit,” implying that others can pick our fruit and be nourished by it. That happens in space and time in ways that others can experience. We teach fruits of the Spirit and their opposites to each other all the time, every time we choose and act or react. I just finished a wonderful book that describes some of the physiology of emotional education processes, “A General Theory of Love.” Easy read, considering the subject matter. There are reasons why random acts of kindness are important (and not-so-random acts, too!) We’re wired to automatically plug into, sync, and track each other’s emotional states, and over time, those connections change our own wiring.

      I’ve searched (and still search) the literature. A conservative 90% of Christian writing deals with WHAT and WHY: the “truth” about WHAT love, joy, peace, patience, etc., are and WHY they are true and WHY we should internalize them. Less than 10% (generous) deals with HOW TO INTERNALIZE the truths that would produce loving, joyful, peaceful, patient behavior NATURALLY, i.e., as genuine expressions of our authentic natures, what Peter calls partaking of “divine nature.” Not only is it possible, it is the WHOLE point of God’s promises. See 2 Peter 2:2-5. We aren’t just supposed to ACT like Jesus. We are supposed to be transformed inwardly and BECOME like him: see like he did, think like he did, feel like he did, and act and react like he did because we ARE like him. Anything less than that is Churchianity.

      Churchianity doesn’t teach us how to be transformed, not just because it doesn’t know how, but because it doesn’t want US to know how. Wolves can fleece and prey on sheep, i.e., victims, but we are not called to be sheep. We are called to be kings and priests. They can’t fleece and prey on kings and priests. Churchian wolves persecute anyone who promotes knowledge that might lead to that kind of transformation. That knowledge is what we need to learn about. And once we learn it, we need to learn how to teach it.

      Check out Paul Zak’s TED presentation that I mentioned in the Mark Driscoll article: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_zak_trust_morality_and_oxytocin.html.

      We are approaching a time when we’ll understand enough about the physical bases for emotion that we’ll be able to test for things like trust, empathy, love, etc. Just like relaxation techniques can be taught using biofeedback, other constructive behaviors could be taught. Maybe we should take the 5% who don’t produce oxytocin on stimulus and put them through regimens of “hug therapy” until their brains reconfigure and start producing it. At least, we should bar them from running for office! 😉

      Of course, alarmists will cry, “Danger! Danger!” to those ideas like Will Robinson’s robot. I’m always amazed by alarmists who refuse new knowledge and capabilities for fear of what bad people will do with them. We can’t prevent bad people from choosing to do bad things. That’s exactly why we need to become kings and priests. SOMEONE has to learn how to use new knowledge the right way and overcome those abusers. Alarmists implicitly advertise that they don’t want to learn. I’m interested in the flip side.

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