Searching For Contentment
Pursuing happiness, contentment is one, if not the most important purpose of our lives. Still it is not easy to define what happiness means and how we can achieve it. All of us have many happy memories, we would all claim that we could generate temporary, happy emotional impressions at will.
Still the very concept of “happiness”remains elusive and in an age where depression, the general sense of emptiness, fear of the future spreads like a plague, the notion of finding happiness, true contentment in a sustained, reproducible manner has became more important than ever.
It is easier to delve into the matter of “happiness/contentment” if we examine the issue from natural, systematic point of view. A closed, fully integrated natural system is considered “happy/content” when the general balance/homeostasis of the whole system is maintained within the optimal parameters.
In such closed, integrated systems we can’t talk about partial homeostasis. If any part of the system is out of balance, can’t maintain its optimal state, homeostasis, it in turn influences the whole system, initiating systematic response.
And if despite such systematic response the homeostasis can’t be restored, sooner or later the whole system starts malfunctioning, failing. Of course the severity and the speed of such system breakdown depends on the relative importance of the cells, organs, subsystems involved.
Similarly when balance, homeostasis is restored the whole system is flooded with the sense of “happiness/contentment”. This is true even if – dictated by the overall calculations always focusing on the well-being of the whole system – some parts, cells, organs or subsystems need to be switched off, deactivated. When the system’s well-being is secured even the purposefully, intentionally deactivated parts are “happy”, since in an integral living system there are no individual, personal calculations, states. Each comprising element shares the mutual, collective state and “perception” of the whole system.
We can directly observe this through our own “closed, integral, living system”: through our biological body. Even if the tip of one of our finger is cut, becomes infected, regardless of the “individual health, contentment” of all other body parts, the “overall consciousness” of the body, our mindful observer feels pain and is concerned about the finger. And if such an infection is not brought under control in time, through unfavorable combination of factors it can become a life threatening sepsis.
Miserable Human Individuality
So how could we apply this natural, “biological contentment” to our “human happiness”?
Our unique human problem is that by birth we all feel ourselves as standalone, individual creatures, each with its own personal life and free choice. We are all driven by an individualistic, egocentric pleasure/pain principle, and see the world through a completely subjective perception of reality. All our calculations are only for ourselves alone.
Thus when we pursue happiness we pursue that also individually, subjectively. Moreover as a result of our instinctively and exclusively competitive nature, our success, happiness is pursued at the expense of others. And this gives us no chance of reaching true happiness, contentment. All we do is endlessly increasing our misery the more we try to make ourselves happy by hurting others.
Suffering From Amnesia
We are not supposed to be pursuing happiness at each other’s expense. We are not supposed to be searching for happiness individually alone, since individual contentment, individual homeostasis doesn’t exist, it is impossible to achieve. Just as in our body balance, homeostasis doesn’t, can’t be realized within the cells, but only in the interconnections in between them, as part of a greater organism, it is the same with us.
We are born into an unsustainable paradox. We are all individual cells of a fully integrated and interdependent organism, but we don’t feel ourselves belonging to it, we don’t feel the system’s inherent mutual guarantee obliging us.
We exist in a strange amnesia, forgetting our natural roots, or origin, evolution from the natural system, believing we exist outside of it. Moreover despite all being parts of the same species, we can’t reconcile even that human interdependence with our inherent individuality.
The Independent Human Observer
As it is a natural law for each and every comprising part of closed, integral natural systems to take part in the system’s mutual guarantee, sustaining the life giving homeostasis, this law is binding for us as well. Similarly as all parts of a natural system only receive contentment, “individual happiness” if the system’s balance, homeostasis is maintained, we human beings also can become happy only, if full integration and a natural homeostasis is achieved within the whole human species, and in between humanity and the natural system.
But while such mutual guarantee – the selfless, altruistic, mutually complementing collaboration maintaining homeostasis – is an inherent, automatic given to all other elements in the vast, cosmic natural system, for human beings it is an alien, “supernatural” notion, completely against the instinctively selfish, egoistic human nature.
Which is on one hand a great, seemingly impossible to surmount disadvantage, while on the other hand it provides people with the chance to become the true “crowns” of evolution.
We have to build mutual guarantee, through selfless, altruistic service of one another against, above our nature in small, purposefully built human laboratories. All through the development a great, nearly intolerable inner war rages within those taking part in the process. The inherent nature is never subdued or deleted, it constantly and with increasing intensity fights against the attempts of building selfless, altruistic, mutually serving interconnections.
On the other hand this constantly fighting, resisting inherent nature helps people to become true, independent, fully aware observers of the system. It is this inherently selfish, egoistic ballast that provides the dark background, heavy stones to weigh with, helping us to develop the true, objective comparative research of the system.
Infinite, Eternal Contentment
Thus by building mutual guarantee in between individual human beings in the “human laboratory”, through reaching similarity and integration with the whole cosmic system, we can start feeling the “happy sense of homeostasis” that permeates the system. But as we achieve that state proactively, rising above our inherent nature; contrary to other inanimate, vegetative or even animate parts of the system we become and remain fully conscious of the state achieved.
Thus at the end our real human happiness doesn’t simply come from reaching full integration with each other and with the cosmic natural system around us. Our true happiness comes from the clear, conscious discernments we can make in between the broken, imbalanced state our original nature caused and the new, fully balanced state, homeostasis we achieved through our committed mutual work in the human laboratory.
This gives us complete access to the system and its evolutionary plan from start to finish. And since the attainment and subsequent happiness reached is not individual but collective, and its intensity is increasing by the number of selfless, altruistic interconnections we facilitate, build within the system around us, the true contentment we are capable of achieving, sensing is unlimited and eternal.