Monday 27th May 2024

    TradeBriefs Editorial

    From the Editor's Desk

    Bertrand Russell on the Secret of Happiness

    In my darkest hours, what has saved me again and again is some action of unselfing — some instinctive wakefulness to an aspect of the world other than myself: a helping hand extended to someone else’s struggle, the dazzling galaxy just discovered millions of lightyears away, the cardinal trembling in the tree outside my window. We know this by its mirror-image — to contact happiness of any kind is “to be dissolved into something complete and great,” something beyond the bruising boundaries of the ego. The attainment of happiness is then less a matter of pursuit than of surrender — to the world’s wonder, ready as it comes.

    That is what the Nobel-winning philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872–February 2, 1970) explores in The Conquest of Happiness (public library) — the 1930 classic that gave us his increasingly urgent wisdom on the vital role of boredom in flourishing.

    The world is vast and our own powers are limited. If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give. And to demand too much is the surest way of getting even less than is possible. The man* who can forget his worries by means of a genuine interest in, say, the Council of Trent, or the life history of stars, will find that, when he returns from his excursion into the impersonal world, he has acquired a poise and calm which enable him to deal with his worries in the best way, and he will in the meantime have experienced a genuine even if temporary happiness.

    Continued here


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