A Human Movement
Friday, July 25, 2003
By rights, a person's happiness is his or her own responsibility. The varying paths to that happiness are manifold and particular to whatever the person's character might be. To rely on an.other for the means and direction to that happiness is wrong and assumptive; it is all well and good, indeed completely natural, to seek the company of others (family, friends, etc) as a complement to the path of happiness. But inextricably associating one's own movement toward and maintenance of happiness with the independent actions and executions of an.other inevitably and inexcusably distorts the interrelationship of people to one another. This distortion manifests itself in personal unhappiness and resentment, and prevents the unhappy one from recognizing the extent to which the ebbs and flows of happiness can be found in the whims and variations of his or her own consciousness and innate sensibility.

Marriage -- the institution of personal alliance that entails romantic, familial, and economic ties -- is such a profound institutional union that it can mislead the participants into thinking that their mutual dependence is such that the dictates of happiness stated above no longer hold. Truly, this is a matter of some debate, for while a union that brings forth children and material entanglements necessarily entwines the partcipants almost inextricably, if based truly on the emotional entity of "love" an understanding between the partcipants must exist. Indeed, this understanding ideally should have preceded the institutional union, such is its profound nature.

If it did not, and one partner now feels lacking in happiness because his or her partner doesn't do enough around the house, or communicate readily enough, etc, an element of divine and delicious resignation and calm acceptance might be turned to, if avenues such as trying to confront the areas of minor frustration lead to dead-ends. At this juncture it appears obvious that the truest manner in which one can reclaim happiness for oneself is to search and locate that happiness within one's self, all the while being careful psychologically to not undermine the love that is the foundation and catalyst of the institutional union. For indeed a love is shared, but it would be foolish to think that the love shared should guarantee happiness; such an arrangement would be well and welcome, but it is true that many a loving relationship can be unhappy.

I suppose these thoughts have a ring of Stoicism to them, but the Stoics weren't historically the killjoys they've been made out to be. They were harmonic with the natural order, and crucially believed that virtue is sufficient for happiness. I'm inclined to believe them, and as long as the love shared between people is communicated and shared with words and caresses of affection, the participants in whatever union or interaction should find comfort in that love and set about maintaining their individual and indivisible happiness, taking care to do what they can to complement that of their partner. Thorny particulars, such as lack of respect and those cosmic foes, hatred and abuse, are indicators that the union (whether it be marriage, friendship, or basic interaction) should be dissolved.

My post of the day.
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