Friday, August 21, 2009

The capacity for happiness and respectability

The Capacity for Happiness and Respectability

Humans, despite their weaknesses, are a tough and resourceful bunch, to be sure. While we rightfully deplore these weaknesses, we must look on the bright side and find there some compelling reasons for hoping and reinforcing our commitment to life and humanity. This short article is all about this hope and this commitment.

happiness, respectability, courage, efficiency, wisdom, nobility, effort, will, suffering, dignity, worthiness

Humans are liable to experience a variety of afflictions, but they are commonly endowed with a capacity for happiness and respectability. There is no guarantee, however, that they will exercise this capacity at all times and to the maximum, whatever happens. Depression and shame remain a possibility, which increases with the severity of their afflictions and the difficulty of living up to the values that are necessary for their happiness and respectability: courage, efficiency, wisdom, and nobility.

Living up to these values is never easy, even under extremely favorable circumstances. It requires an effort of will. To make or not to make this effort is the question, central to the human existence. This question is difficult in proportion to the weight of suffering that bears on humans, while their dignity hangs in the balance. The more burdensome this weight, the more tempting it is for them to take the easy way out. The fear of losing their dignity, however, is a strong deterrent. There is no greater los


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