F. 1.    WHO IS HAPPY? WHO IS UNHAPPY?

Ask people (one at a time) why they are happy or are unhappy. Probe each person -- ask what makes them happy or unhappy. Then probe further and ask why that makes them happy or unhappy. See how many can give any further reason, and then make your own evaluation of how good their reason is. Does that help you decide whether you should consider yourself happy or unhappy? Or does it give you any hints as to how you might make yourself happier or unhappier?

If you asked me whether I am happy or unhappy, I would have to say that I am both. If you press me which one is more important or stronger, I would have to say they are of equal importance or strength in my mind.

If I had to explain, I would say that many things about the world situation, the national situation, and the local situation make me unhappy because of the suffering of many people at each level, many of it caused unnecessarily by other humans. If you asked me what made me happy, I would say it is the goodness shown by many humans at each level. And then I would add something more. What makes me happiest is having found out that the nature of this world is such that human empathy, kindness, cooperation and even love makes every human relationship better, and that their opposites always make human life worse. That knowledge lifts up my spirits and my hope for a better future whenever the messes people keep making in the world almost make me despair.

Then I find in the great literature we have inherited from the past enough evidence of all this to give me a deeper appreciation of people’s struggles against various odds in their lives, and that enriches my life. I listen to some of the worlds greatest music, & as I become more familiar with it, it transports me as though into another world that inexplicably enriches my life differently. As I ponder all this, I realize what a great privilege it is to be born into such a world and to become aware of the great human drama of which I am a tiny part. And it gives me great satisfaction to think I can play my small part well if I try to do so.

That makes me happier, along with the sadness that I also feel for the reason already given.