Over the past handful of years, I have been talking and reveling a lot about the science of happiness, and my happiness from having learned that science through courses at Yale and Berkeley online. I do this enough that there’s even a header menu choice for “happiness” on my blog, even though there’s not a huge number of posts under it. That’s how much I value trying to catch people’s attention with it to share it with them! For all of its value and my intent, though, I find that talking about the science and pursuit of happiness in life occasionally rubs people the wrong way, or lead them to think I’m really misguided since I’d never be happy if I’m always chasing something I can’t get, right? Yes, except that I’m really working to maintain as much of something as I can, though that wasn’t quite right, either. I am not trying to be ecstatic or even perky sort of happy throughout most of my days, which is not what the courses taught, either. I am just pursuing a general feeling of bliss throughout as much for as many of my days as possible, and minimizing stresses and/or things that get me down, stressful or not. But how to properly explain that? Well, recently, the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley which had taught me the Science of Happiness course came to the rescue. Contentment, was the word I was seeking and meaning to use, not happiness, and it makes a huge world of difference!
What does it mean to be alive? Vibrant question with some terribly dull yet technically correct answers like not being a rock? The more accurate question I’m wanting to be asking is what’s the difference between living and existing as a person? A little less glamorous and a bit more cerebral, even though I’m meaning the same thing. I can’t see the second question being a dramatic movie or conversational line, for example. Regardless, what does it mean to be alive or living, rather than merely existing, as a person? For most of my life, I’ve never had a good answer until I heard world renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel share her meaning. Recently, though, I feel I have a better meaning, for me, at least.
From this No Stupid Questions podcast episode, I heard that mathematician Richard Hamming thought “in science, if you know what you are doing, you should not be doing it; in engineering, if you don’t know what you are doing, you should not be doing it”. That is, scientists are explorers, while engineers are executioners. It’s not an absolutely line. Nothing is, and especially in situations like this where neither side doesn’t know anything about what they’re doing. You need to know some things to plan to do it in some way, and you need to do some things you don’t know everything about. So maybe it’s a majority sort of thing. But it let me to consider if I were more of a scientist or engineer when it comes to fashion design, where, in addition to designing, I often alter or create thing for some purpose.
Can you explain the difference between love and lust as it applies to you, for how you know when feelings you have for someone is one or the other? Maybe you can. Maybe you can’t. Harder question. Can you explain the difference between love and lust for the masses? Maybe you think you can. Maybe you know you can’t.