It is surprisingly easy for us to be distracted into happiness. Give candy to a crying child and all may be well. Even a hug will do the trick.

Being happy is one of the acknowledged goals of life, so much so that “more noble” goals such as honor and duty require giving it up. A person happy all the time is considered lazy with little ambition. Seeking only immediate happiness is thought to be the road to addiction and eventual death from shortcuts used to attain pleasure.

Philosophic treatises have innumerable elephants in this vast room, but surely one of the greatest is the role of being happy. Should it be a goal or a distraction from deeper values which require patience and sacrifice? And under what circumstances and when should it become positive or negative? But how often does one find such questions clearly addressed? 

Clearly, in the short run, there are conditions when one should be less happy now in order to be more happy in the future. But given the uncertainty of the future as it extends farther away from the moment, is such a cause and effect link ever really valid? You end up with a miserable slave being happy over the idea that paradise will arrive with death. Even if such happiness is real, is it moral? 

Considering nibbles like this is essential to the beginning of wisdom.

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