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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happiness the old fashioned way

Sometimes when I turn on the news and listen to what the people around me did to one another , I get discouraged. Shooting one another, killing, maiming, hit and runs and all the rest.  Then I think back to the things I have learned in life and realize the problems are pretty much the same.  Everyone is looking for happiness and since it is  equated to money, a host of problems arise.

Epicurus knew, way back in 341 BC , money didn't bring happiness.  Over the years he wrote 300 books, all of which have been lost over the centuries, yet his ideas still live today.   He thought there were three major parts to happiness. 1. Friends 2. Freedom 3. An analyzed life.

For my taste he took the friendship thing too far.  He liked communal living because there were always people around. He believed only wolves and bears ate alone and people should always eat with someone else.  It might be my answer to dieting.  If I waited for someone to share every meal with, I wouldn't eat much.  But let's look at the bigger picture.  When you have lots of friends, your life is entwined with them.
Groups of people together are festive by nature.  It is a much happier life with friends around.  Only not around all the time, in my opinion.

Next he thought freedom was important.  He didn't mean freedom like many of you are thinking.  He meant no boss to ruin your life. He actually was speaking of being self-sufficient.  Knowing how to take care of yourself and your family.  This is not a high priority in our times.  I was speaking one night about this and a lady came up to me later.  She said Walmart would always have food so she thought I was being negative and old  fashioned.  Needless to say, I couldn't think of anything to say to her.  I hope my mouth didn't gape open too far.

Then there is the analyzed life. Epicurus believed one needed to have enough time alone to examine their life. Sitting on a river bank or walking in the woods with no music, no people and no commercials,only quiet.To spend time reflecting and perhaps letting ideas pop into your head. They will never come with your ipad always at hand, your computer in front of you or a video game stealing your attention.

Way back before the birth of Christ, Epicurus believed commercialism and advertising caused most of our problems with happiness.  He felt it was why getting away alone  once in awhile was so important.
Before I let go of this subject, I want to point something out that Epicurus said.  He said we bought things to find happiness, but happiness is not included with any purchase.  He said it was mostly advertising.
Someone buys a cologne called Love.  They don't necessary want the cologne, they want the love.
Take "Bacardi and friends", do you want the Bacardi or the friends?  Whiskey most usually shows a guy sitting alone reflecting while he sips a $200 bottle of single malt whiskey.  Does he want the whiskey or the reflection?
Only wanted to give you a little something to think about on these cold winter mornings as you drink your Folgers coffee. Did you buy it because the kid came all the way from East Africa to see his family for Christmas or because you like the taste?  Hum.


  1. Great post, Susan. They are always so thought provoking. I like Epicurus' way of thinking.
    And while those Folgers commercials always make me weepy (and I'm glad they've grown over the years), I drink my folgers because I'm partial to Caramel Drizzle :-D

  2. Intriguing post, Susan. Something to ponder as I enjoy my Folgers coffee or a Starbucks skinny vanilla latte later. Couldn't resist!

    I enjoy friends but I also enjoy alone time and don't have any problem being alone all day. In fact, I enjoy it most days.

    I couldn't agree more that we need to turn off the technology, get back to nature, and draw within ourselves. I like what you posted about Epicurus saying we should not eat alone and that only wolves and bears eat alone. I eat alone for lunch many times but enjoy dinner with hubby or friends.

    That comment made by the woman at Wal-Mart is so Twenty-First Century! She isn't thinking about people who lose jobs and don't have the money to go to Wal-Mart to purchase their food! She has obviously never gardened nor been poor at some point in her life like many of us.

  3. Interesting things to ponder, Susan. But unlike Beth, I'll ponder while I sip my Earl Grey or Chai Latte. Although I USUALLY do order the SKINNY latte's now.

    I agree with you, though. I love my friends and gatherings, but sometimes I LOVE being alone. Can anyone take my husband and kids for a day??????

  4. Thanks for the input ladies. I love the way you think.