Happiness

Edward de Bono writes supremely intelligently about everything he touches. My first contact with him was when my brother, Mark, gave me one of his books as a birthday gift waaaaaaay back in the seventies. A better, more thoughtful present there could not have been.

I do not remember the title of that particular book, but I went on to read much of his work. de Bono coined the term and first described lateral thinking, the kind of insight one needs only once to launch a successful career as a public intellectual. I plan to re-read as much of his stuff as I am able as soon as I can.

Off the top of my head, de Bono also wrote “The Happiness Purpose”. I plan to buy this first because I sense that it’s a good place to start. Happiness is a slippery concept. We all find it easy to answer the question:

When do you find yourself being happy? At what point of your life/day/career are/were you happiest? and so on.

Try this, however: What is happiness?

Is happiness a binary, on/off thing, or a range of feelings?

Happiness is a mixture of many other elements, for me anyhow. Security, in terms of money and living arrangements, is a part of it. Confidence makes me happy. Being healthy makes me happy. Cups of milky tea make me happy. Cats make me happy. You see how quickly we revert to the circumstances of happiness rather than describing the thing itself.

In a book recently, I noted the guy talked about happiness as being located within ourselves. The idea of happiness being somewhere, of it residing at an address I found intriguing. Eventually, he went on, we either find it or we don’t…but the critical point is that happiness is always within reach.

But we’ll see what de Bono reckons.