These days there’s nothing simple or clear-cut about attaining and maintaining the psychological state of happiness. As with organizational dysfunction (OD), there is no one cause of unhappiness that, when remedied, delivers happiness as an effect. A word not open to objective definition, happiness is something, nevertheless, that everyone knows when they have it and when they don’t. The inalienable right of happiness is a conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival.
Man’s life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If happy existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man—for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life. Happiness begins with our existence. if you desire the opposite of existence, be not concerned. You will reach it with the others.
A lot of thought-provoking philosophical viewpoints on happiness are in the literature and our collection of excerpts includes the following.
Yes, you exist
There is only one fundamental alternative in the trajectory of the expanding universe: existence or non-existence—and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not; it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist.
It is only a living organism that faces this constant choice, the issue of its species survival. Life is a process of self-sustaining and-self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.
If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.
It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.
Living the happy life is an act of moral choice and it involves a lot of serious thinking. The alternative to not choosing is that state of degradation which you now see around you, the state of a thing unfit for existence, no longer human and less than animal, a thing that knows nothing but pain and drags itself through its span of years in the agony of unthinking self-destruction. Some choice.
One cannot hope to maintain one’s life by accepting bribes to condone one’s own destruction. Do not struggle for profit, success or security at the price of a lien on your right to exist. Such a lien is not to be paid off; the more you pay the ruling class, the more they will demand; the greater the values you seek or achieve, the more vulnerable to punishment you become. Theirs is a system of white blackmail devised to bleed you, not by means of your sins, but by means of your love for existence.
Since life requires a specific non-obvious course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of species extinction. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain.
Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists. The unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human subconsciousness when it attempts to abandon reason. Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man’s only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.
Non-thinking is an act of self-annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say ‘It is,’ you are refusing to say ‘I am.’ By suspending your judgment, you are negating your person. When a man declares: ‘Who am I to know?’—he is declaring: ‘Who am I to live?’
This, in every hour and every issue, is your basic moral choice: thinking or non-thinking compliance, existence or non-existence, A or non-A, entity or zero. To the extent to which a man is rational, life is the premise directing his actions. To the extent to which he is irrational, the premise directing his actions is decay.
The morality of reason is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live a happy life. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem.
- Reason, as his only tool of knowledge
- Purpose, as his choice of happiness
- Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, i.e., is worthy of living.
These three values imply and require all of man’s virtues, with prudence as mother, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness, including rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, and productiveness.
- Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking—that the mind is one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide of action—that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise—that a concession to the irrational invalidates one’s consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality—that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind—that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wish for the annihilation of existence and, properly, annihilates one’s consciousness.
- Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it—that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life—that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.
- Integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness, just as honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence—that man is an indivisible entity, an integrated unit of two attributes: of matter and consciousness, and that he may permit no breach between body and mind, between action and thought, between his life and his convictions—that, like a judge impervious to public opinion, he may not sacrifice his convictions to the wishes of others, be it the whole of mankind shouting pleas or threats against him—that courage and confidence are practical necessities, that courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to one’s own consciousness.
- Honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.
- Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live—that productive work is the process by which man’s consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one’s purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one’s values in self-esteem.
Whatever the degree of your knowledge, these two—existence and consciousness—are axioms you cannot escape. They are the irreducible primaries implied in any action you undertake, in any part of your knowledge and in its sum, from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end. Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.
Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty of the conscious mind that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.
Prudency, the enabler of all human virtue, is your moral obligation to yourself, to material objects and to all of existence. Deal with men as your nature and their demands by means of reason. Seek or desire nothing from them except such relations as they care to enter of their own voluntary choice.
The reality of your socialization now crawls through the wreckage of dysfunctional living, groping blindly for a way to live. Your teachers offer you the help of a morality that proclaims you’ll find no solution and must seek no fulfillment on earth. Real existence, you are told, is that which you cannot perceive, true consciousness is the faculty of perceiving the non-existent—and if you are unable to understand it, that is the proof that your existence is evil and your consciousness impotent. The evils for which you are damned are reason, prudency, morality, creativeness; joy—all the cardinal values of your existence.
Socialization entails two kinds of teachers: the mystics of spirit and the mystics of muscle. They believe in consciousness without existence and in existence without consciousness. Both demand the surrender of your mind, one to their revelation, the other to their reflexes. No matter how loudly they posture in the roles of irreconcilable antagonists, their moral codes are alike, and so are their aims: in matter—the enslavement of man’s body, in spirit—the destruction of his mind. They are damned effective in practice.
If it is immoral to live by your own effort, but moral to live by the effort of others—if it is immoral to consume your own product, but moral to consume the products of others—if it is immoral to earn, but moral to mooch, it is the entitled consumers who are the moral justification for the existence of the producers (you). It is evil to profit by achievement, but good to profit by sacrifice—it is evil to create your own happiness, but good to enjoy it at the price of the despair of others.
Entitled consumers claim they are superior to your existence on this earth. The mystics of spirit call it ‘another dimension,’ which consists of denying dimensions. The mystics of muscle call it ‘the future,’ which consists of denying the present. To exist is to possess identity. What identity are they able to give to their superior realm? They keep telling you what it is not, but never tell you what it is. All their identifications consist of negating the operational reality.
Your teachers, the mystics of both schools, have reversed causality in their consciousness. They take their emotions as a cause, and their mind as a passive effect. They make their emotions their tool for perceiving reality. The result of discounting reality is what’s going on today. Just look.
Entitled consumers want to cheat the axiom of existence and consciousness, they want their consciousness to be an instrument not of perceiving but of creating existence, and existence to be not the object but the subject of their consciousness—they want to be that deity they created in their image and likeness, who creates a universe out of a void by means of an arbitrary whim.
But, since reality cannot be cheated, what is achieved is the opposite of their expressed desire. They want an omnipotent power over existence; instead, they lose the power of the consciousness. By refusing to know, they condemn themselves to the horror of streaming consequences, of perpetual discord with reality.
For centuries, the mystics of spirit have existed by running a protection racket—by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible. Riding on the shoulders of your guilt, they declare production and joy to be sins, then collect blackmail from the sinners.
’You cannot prove that you exist or that you’re conscious,’ they claim, blanking out the fact that proof presupposes existence, consciousness and a complex chain of knowledge: the existence of something to know, of a consciousness able to know it, and of a knowledge that has learned to distinguish between such concepts as the proved and the unproved.
They seek to seize power over all of existence while denying that existence exists. “We know that we know nothing,” they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are claiming knowledge. There are no absolutes, they claim, blanking out the fact that they are uttering an absolute.
No matter what unintelligible causes he ascribes to his incommunicable feelings, whoever rejects reality rejects existence—and the feelings that move him from then on are hatred for all the values of man’s life, and lust for all the evils that destroy it.
The sole result of the doctrine of entitled consumers was to remove morality from life. Socialized to believe that moral laws bear no relation to the job of living, except as an impediment and threat, man’s existence is an amoral jungle where anything goes and anything works. And in that fog of switching definitions which descends upon a frozen mind, you have forgotten that the evils damned by your creed were the virtues required for living, and you have come to believe that actual evils are the practical means of existence.
Swinging like a helpless branch in the wind of an uncharted moral wilderness, you dare not fully to be evil or fully to live. When you are honest, you feel the resentment of a sucker; when you cheat, you feel terror and shame, your pain is augmented by the feeling that pain is your natural state. You pity the men you admire, you believe they are doomed to fail; you envy the men you hate, you believe they are the masters of existence. You feel disarmed when you come up against a scoundrel: you believe that evil is bound to win, since the moral is the impotent, the impractical. You start out in pursuit of the irrational, then damn existence for making no sense.
By a feeling he has not learned to identify, but has derived from his first awareness of existence, from his discovery that he has to make choices, man knows that his desperate need of self-esteem is a matter of life or death. As a being of volitional consciousness, he knows that he must know his own value in order to maintain his own life. He knows that he has to be right; to be wrong in action means danger to his life; to be wrong in person, to be evil, means to be unfit for existence.
Every act of man’s life has to be willed; the mere act of obtaining or eating his food implies that the person he preserves is worthy of being preserved; every pleasure he seeks to enjoy implies that the person who seeks it is worthy of finding enjoyment. He has no choice about his need of self-esteem, his only choice is the standard by which to gauge it. And he makes his fatal error when he switches this gauge protecting his life into the service of his own destruction, when he chooses a standard contradicting existence and sets his self-esteem against reality.
Every form of causeless self-doubt, every feeling of inferiority and secret unworthiness is, in fact, man’s hidden dread of his inability to deal with existence. But the greater his terror, the more fiercely he clings to the murderous doctrines that choke him
Survival of our species is the standard of morality, your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man—for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life.
Man’s only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a ‘moral commandment’ is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.
In Plan B world, you’ll be able to rise in the morning with the spirit you have known in your childhood: that spirit of eagerness, adventure and certainty which comes from dealing with a rational universe. No child is afraid of nature; it is your fear of men that will vanish, the fear that has stunted your soul, the fear you acquired in your early encounters with the incomprehensible, the unpredictable, the contradictory, the arbitrary, the hidden, the faked, the irrational in men. You will live in a world of responsible beings, who will be as consistent and reliable as facts; the guarantee of their character will be a system of existence where objective reality is the standard of the judge. Your virtues will be given protection, your vices and weaknesses will not. Every chance will be open to your good, none will be provided for your evil. What you’ll receive from men will not be alms, or pity, or mercy, or forgiveness of sins, but a single value: justice. And when you’ll look at men or at yourself, you will feel, not disgust, suspicion and guilt, but a single constant: respect.