Friday, January 9, 2009

Right to Happiness

I really enjoyed this piece of writing by Lewis, because it is something that is still very relevant to today's society. I admit that I often fall victim to this attitude of thinking I have a right to happiness, but I am just one of many. The more I think about it though, I agree with what Lewis says.

In the Declaration of Independence it states we have the pursuit of happiness, but this is only within legal boundaries. Man is not entitled to pursue happiness by any and every means- including murder, rape, robbery, treason, or fraud. We are actually quite limited in what we are allowed to do since happiness depends on so many different factors. What makes one person happy may make another person terribly sad, angry, hurt, etc. No society would last if each individual had the right to pursue their happiness.

Lewis uses a scenario of two couples who divorce to pursue their sexual happiness to explain his point. It seems that more and more people are getting divorces today and I wouldn't be surprised if sexual dissatisfaction was a common reason. Mr.A in this story left his wife to pursue his happiness with another women, but his "right" to do this caused unhappiness to Mrs.A. Also, it will likely cause unhappiness to Mrs.B when Mr.A gets bored with this new women and looks for yet another new one. We cannot all have a right to happiness, because there will always be someone who is not happy.

In class we discussed the difference between joy and happiness. God created us, and we are called to follow His plans for us. Thus, we were not created to pursue our individual desires. We do not have a right to happiness, but we can rest in knowing that when we follow God we will experience joy. Happiness is often temporary, and it depends on the situation and time. I find comfort in knowing that although my earthly desires are often not met, I can find eternal joy in the Lord. He provides all that we need; what we usually think will bring us happiness is material things that we do not need at all. We all strive to find happiness, but we should instead be working toward finding eternal joy.

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