I have often wished that Jefferson had not used that phrase “the pursuit of happiness” as the third right — although I understand in the first draft it was “life, liberty and the pursuit of property.” Of course, I would have been one of those properties one had the right to pursue, so I suppose happiness is an ethical improvement over a life devoted to the acquisition of land, acquisition of resources, acquisition of slaves.
Still, I would rather he had written “life, liberty and the pursuit of meaningfulness” or “integrity” or “truth.” I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, goal of your labors here. I know that it informs your choice of companions, the profession you will enter. But I urge you, please don’t settle for happiness. It’s not good enough.
Personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice, that’s more than a barren life; it is a trivial one. It’s looking good instead of doing good.
miércoles, 6 de julio de 2011
Sobre la infelicidad de la búsqueda de la felicidad
Un par de escritos interesantes sobre el asunto. John Quiggin hace un review de la economía de la infelicidad basada en el consumo (precisamente esta semana estuve con Juliet Schor hablando del tema, muy interesante). Y Toni Morrison, en su discurso en Rutgers, también nos da una buena cita de por qué buscar la felicidad no basta: